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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Making the move from hair to care

Working for Carinity Home Care is a recent switch in careers for Bronwyn Dagnall, after a fulfilling career as a hairdresser for over 35 years.

“It’s a career with purpose, that offers such reward and enjoyment in helping make the lives of others easier,” says Bronwyn.

“Unfortunately, I developed arthritis in my hands. Due to the manual nature of hairdressing, I had to make the decision to find a new career.

“It was daunting thinking about putting down the scissors, let alone working out what I would do next.”

Bronwyn was encouraged by remembering her father’s career change at 50. Her father left the business world, commenced studying theology, became a priest and served until he retired.

She looked at what skills she had and what other jobs she could use them in.

“As a hairdresser you need to be a great communicator. Everyone who walks in the salon has their own personal style, and understanding what that is and creating it requires a lot of communication and understanding of a client. It really is rewarding when a client walks out delighted with their style!”

“When I put these skills together, along with a large client base of seniors and having my own aging parents, I was naturally drawn to helping older people.”

She commenced the transition by enrolling in a Certificate III in Individual Support, the qualification required for working in the home care, residential aged care, and disability sectors.

Armed with a recommendation from Amanda, a close family friend and Carinity Home Care Coordinator, Bronwyn embarked on her new career supporting Brisbane seniors in 2021.

“It has been heartening working at Carinity, a faith-based organisation, where the values I grew up with are complementary to the organisation I work for; where I treat my clients the same way I treat my parents,” Bronwyn shares.

“I was working towards completing my Certificate III when I started as a Lifestyle Carer with Carinity. While working as a carer I was able to complete the practical component of the course requirements.

The Carinity Home Care Brisbane South client support team includes Karen Davidson(Assistant Coordinator), Ebony Apperley (Customer Support) & Bronwyn Dagnall (Coordinator)
The Carinity Home Care Brisbane South client support team includes Bronwyn Dagnall (Coordinator), Ebony Apperley (Customer Support) and Karen Davidson (Assistant Coordinator).

“There are such parallels between hairdressing and supporting seniors. Communication is so key in building trust and a genuine relationship with your clients.

“It’s important to understand their personal needs and preferences, to ensure you deliver the right support and care that is catered to their individual needs.

“After a short period of administration support for the office, it was quickly identified that my skills were very suited to the role of Assistant Coordinator, which focusses on client management and the coordination of support.”

After two years working at Carinity, she has just stepped into the position of Lifestyle Coordinator for the Carinity Home Care Brisbane South region.

“There is such reward in managing and working with a team of staff who get so much enjoyment from helping others every day.”

Bronwyn believes work-life balance is also a huge benefit of working in the aged care sector. Carinity offers carers the flexibility of working part-time and working around commitments and families.

She has also gained an invaluable insight into being on the other end of the home care journey while supporting her aging parents through their assessment and search for care.

“When my parents retired in 2018, they contacted My Aged Care for an assessment of their health and wellbeing, which determined they qualified for a number of government-funded home support services,” says Bronwyn.

“Unfortunately, due to the funding and staffing availability, they were not able to find providers to support them in all the government-funded services they had been approved for. Their only option was to pay for the service themselves.”

Carinity Home Care client Ron McAllister, with his wife Nancye. Nancye is now supported at the Carinity Wishart Gardens residential aged care community
Carinity Home Care client Ron McAllister, with his wife Nancye. Nancye is now supported at the Carinity Wishart Gardens residential aged care community.

Earlier this year Bronwyn returned to her caring role, as an informal carer to her mum after she broke her wrist. This became a pivotal moment for the whole family, prompting discussion regarding the longer-term care needs of her parents.

After identifying a decline in her mum’s mobility while providing support during her recovery, Bronwyn knew there was a need to escalate the level of care and support her mother was receiving.

“Caring for someone is a stressful role, especially juggling my family with the care needs of my parents. Both mum and dad have now been reassessed for further funded in-home support.

Home care providers are always juggling demand for their services with staffing availability, so we are currently waiting on services to become available,” shares Bronwyn.

Bronwyn’s advice, from an informal carer and service provider perspective, is to “Look to the future – don’t leave it too late!”

“You can’t control when you will need care. What you can do is learn about the care options, start the conversation about care and support needs with your loved ones, understand how to access care and the funding options that are available, and start your registration with My Aged Care for an assessment as soon as possible.”

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