Mary has always been a hard worker, but it took her a while to find her ideal role. Now in her mid-60s, she left school earlytypically always working in sandwich bars or waitressing. 


But at some point along the way, Mary recognised she had potential that was unfulfilled. She says, “I went to business college to learn to type and do secretarial skills. However, I soon realised I am no typist.” 


The long road 

Rather than the office job she had envisioned, Mary initially wound up working in a pharmacy, followed by email broadcasting and then customer serviceShe may not have realised it at the time, but through her different roles, she was actually edging closer to the one she was born for. 


Fate, she says, then intervened. “My daughter lives with mental illness, and about nine years ago she was very ill, so I left my full-time position to be her carer.” 


“I also took on a role looking after an elderly man with dementia. I started out by doing his shopping, cooking his meals and doing his washing. I ended up taking him to all appointments,” the now 65-year-old recalls. 


A harsh initiation  

Mary says the man, Reg, was a hoarder and his house was in a dreadful state. After growing increasingly concerned about his physical and mental wellbeing, Mary called an ambulance as she felt she’d reached the limit in terms of the help she could offer him. It was decided that the best option for Reg was to place him in a nearby nursing home 


How it started 

By this time, Mary’s daughter was doing much better and no longer required her assistance. 


Feeling lost and lacking purpose, Mary says she confided in a friend who happened to work at Just Better Care Hills to Hornsby. Her friend encouraged Mary to apply for a Support Worker position at the same office. 


“I thought it would be good assisting people in the community, so I applied. I had no qualifications at the time, but the local Just Better Care office put me through a thorough orientation, trained me and helped me gain the skills requiredI’ve never looked back!” 


Every client has a story 

Mary soon realised that as with older people, her disability clients needed the same type of personal care – shopping, cooking and domestic assistance - that she’d provided to her daughter and Reg. 


A rewarding career 

Four years ago, Mary achieved her Certificate III in disability and aged care in the community. Just six years on from when she joined Just Better Care. 


Mary says she has met many wonderful carers, and made “many, many lovely friends. You become a part of the family when you have regular clients. You put a smile on their face and make a difference to their lives. This is the most rewarding job I’ve ever had in my life. My only regret is that I didn’t start this type of work earlier in life as there are so many people out there that need us.” 


If you or someone you know would make a great Support Worker, as you’ve just discovered, age in no barrier. Just Better Care has local offices and roles available across Australia and we would love to talk with you. The first step is to apply online.