7 Best Roles to Work in as an Aged Carer
As Australia‘s ageing population continues to rise rapidly, a career in aged care has never been a more fulfilling and stable job pathway. From clinical to residential aged care, we’ve chosen seven of Australia‘s best aged care roles to help you compare and discover one that suits your passion and personality.
The Australian aged care industry is a multibillion-dollar system of support services — from home-based care to community-based providers. This industry will continue to grow as the demand for support work increases.
In 2017, 15% of Australia’s population was 65 years or older. This is projected to grow to 22% by 2057.
This demand means great things for aged care professionals, like job security and a projected annual salary rise of 5.5% until 2050 (p.18).
So, where do these aged care workers work? Do they all require the same skillset? Do they all earn the same salary?
In this article, we will go through Australia‘s seven best aged care jobs, their average salaries and role-specific responsibilities and skills to help guide you through this career journey.
1. Aged care support worker
A general aged care support worker‘s role is most likely what comes to mind when you think of a career in aged care. These professionals predominantly work for individual clients in their home. This in-home support can be delivered in numerous forms, such as:
Provide individual support to improve the overall quality of life
Assist with personal care needs (e.g. showering, hygiene)
Domestic duties such as cooking and cleaning
Mobility assistance (exercise companionship)
Helps complete daily tasks such as taking medication, running errands and socialising with friends
Aged care support workers need to have flexible schedules and can work with any number of people, depending on the level of care required. General support workers need to be:
The average salary of an aged care support worker will change as you gain experience and more responsibility. Average salaries for this role include:
2. Residential aged care support worker
Although similar to a general aged care support worker, this role is specific to residential aged care facilities. These include aged care homes or nursing homes, as well as disability group homes.
On average, the clients who live in residential care facilities require a higher level of assistance with personal care. Furthermore, most social outings and efforts fall on the residential staff to organise, encourage and monitor.
Assist with personal hygiene
Organise appointments and transport requirements
Organise and encourage participation in social and community services
Domestic assistance (help to clean residents’ rooms or apartments)
Provide emotional and social support to residents
Residential support workers may also be required to provide more clinical care such as medication management, light physiotherapy assistance and injury care.
This role may require you to do evening, night and weekend shift work, as aged care residents need access to 24/7 care. Furthermore, working in aged care facilities will see you responsible for numerous patients. Due to this role demanding a higher level of flexibility in availability and number of clients, the average salary is higher than a general support worker.
The average salary progression of a residential aged care support worker is:
3. Community care/lifestyle support worker
The role of a community support worker is central to the mental health of our older population. Responsible for facilitating social events and activities, this career will have you work in individual clients’ homes, residential care facilities and community centres.
Organise social activities and events such as dance classes, bingo and book clubs for aged care residents.
Offer emotional support to encourage engagement with their hobbies and social circles
Facilitate appropriate exercise opportunities
Tailor your efforts to clients’ needs and wants
Liaise with aged care support workers to ensure all medical and mental needs are met and accounted for
This role is all about ensuring your clients have fun and stay socially connected for optimum mental health!
Key skills required for this role include:
4. Care manager
This role is the most senior position in a residential care facility. Usually, this role is occupied by an experienced aged care worker who is passionate, driven and knowledgeable with leadership qualities. In this role, you’ll be the go-to for all care-related questions, concerns and problems.
Hiring and managing your team of residential support workers and volunteers
Overseeing social and clinical programs offered at your facility
Administrative duties including rostering and payroll management
Training and monitoring your team members to ensure care is of the highest quality
Trouble-shooting larger management or clinical issues
Your day-to-day in this role will see you accomplish more behind-the-scenes wins rather than frontline clinical patient care. However, you’ll need both managerial and aged care knowledge to thrive in this role.
Critical skills include:
As we get older, health problems are more likely to arise, and our risk of injury increases. Aged care physiotherapists help prevent and treat any issues to do with mobility. Using several techniques, including exercise, massage, and stretching, they help improve older adults’ quality of life.
Aged care physiotherapists often travel for their work, providing in-home visits and scheduled treatment times for residents of aged care facilities. They may also work in a clinic or hospital, where clients come to them.
Assess and diagnose injuries or issues
Develop care plans
Administer physiotherapy treatments and exercises
Prescribe treatments and exercise plans
Implement pain management plans
Communicate with aged care workers, families and other health professionals
To work as an aged care physiotherapist, you’ll need to complete a Bachelor’s of Physiotherapy. However, a shorter pathway into this field is to complete a certificate level course in Allied Health Assistance (Physiotherapy). This, combined with hands-on work experience, will allow you to enter the field as a physiotherapy assistant.
You’ll also need skills like:
These skills will ensure you connect with your clients and their needs.
The average salary progression of an aged care physiotherapist is:
6. Enrolled Nurse (AIN) or Registered Nurse (RN)
Assistants in Nursing (AIN) in the aged care sector are enrolled nurses who assist medical professionals in assisted living facilities and hospitals.
Key responsibilities (AIN):
Monitoring and assisting patients with food and fluid ingestion
Administer basic medicine needs and healthcare
Monitoring vital records and behavioural changes
Reporting back to superiors (registered nurses and doctors) regarding patient progression
Assisting with physiotherapy exercises
Providing support and communication pathways for patients and loved ones
Many AINs progress to becoming registered aged care nurses. This role will see you manage and support a team of AINs and become more involved with your patients’ treatment plan.
Registered aged care nurses mostly work in hospitals and medical clinics. However, they can also work within residential facilities or do home-visits.
Key responsibilities (RN):
Work with doctors to develop care plans
Medical assistance management
Medicine administration (e.g. complex pain management)
Monitoring and evaluating the effects of a care plan
Training and managing junior nurses (AINs)
Palliative care treatment
Registered nurses require an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and a license from your state’s nursing board.
The average salary progression of an AIN is:
A caring career like aged care offers both personal and professional fulfilment while ensuring financial security. With flexible working hours and numerous job opportunities available, there’s a role out there to suit your lifestyle.
If moving into aged care and making a positive impact sounds like your next career move, it’s time to prepare and learn more about the industry, the skills you’ll need and the education opportunities available to you!
Found a role you’re passionate about and think you’d thrive in? This is how to take your first step into the aged care industry.Read more
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