From Supported to Support Professional
Matthew used to spend each day in agony. Having been diagnosed with Scheuermann’s disease – a condition that results in an increased rounding posture of the spine – in 2014, the pain in the teenager’s neck and back was so intense it often proved completely debilitating. By 2016, the aches became so severe that Matthew was forced to undergo spinal fusion surgery. The operation proved an absolute game changer.
It reduced the Sydneysider’s discomfort considerably to the point he is now able to indulge his passion for physical fitness by exercising at home and in pre-lockdown times, working out at the gym several times a week and regularly playing soccer.
Equally as important to Matthew’s overall health and wellbeing, the care and support he received as he recovered from his hospital stint, combined with witnessing how well his grandparents were looked after in their residential aged care facility, inspired him to consider supporting older Australians as a potential career.
Just last year Matthew, who is now 23, joined Just Better Care Hills to Hornsby office as a Community Support Professional. “I wanted to give back. I thought a career in care will allow me to give back to the community,” he says. As with most who work as professional support people, his workdays typically involve various forms of domestic assistance, personal care and or social support.
Aside from having to ensure he uses the correct technique when lifting customers to prevent further damage to his spine, Matthew says there is no task he is unable to complete as a result of his diagnosis. Matthew, who completed a couple of unrelated TAFE courses prior to settling on in-home care as his first job, says one of the things he enjoys most about his work is that no two days are ever the same.
“I love helping customers reach their goals and I like helping to get groceries or taking them to doctor’s appointments. I love receiving positive and uplifting feedback as it feels like I’m making a difference. It gives me pride in the work I do,” he says.
He says his best day on the job so far is when a customer he had impressed told him he would make a ‘great dad’. While becoming a parent is also on his future to do list, Matthew says in the meantime he hopes to continue helping those in the community while also serving as an inspiration for others with medical conditions similar to his but who are afraid to give employment a try.
“My advice is that you shouldn’t let any condition hold you back. Talk to the Just Better Care Community Support Professionals and local office team who can advise you and support you with your condition.”