This energetic and devoted Home Care Worker has made a difference to many lives.
“My son Shannon started school and then, 12 months later, my daughter Clarissa started and l thought, ‘what am I going to do?’. I was sitting on the back steps at 9 o’clock in the morning, bored.”
Vicky’s solution was to get a job. That’s how she started as a Home Care Worker in Cowra, in central New South Wales, almost 34 years ago.
Shannon is now 40, Clarissa is 39 and there are five grandchildren, but Vicky is still a Home Care Worker. “I just love it,” she says.
“I leave the house before seven in the morning. I like to make sure my house is in really good order and then I like to make sure that the customer’s house is [cleaned and tidied to] perfection, too.”
On an average day Vicky makes four or five visits, though she will sometimes do up to seven.
“I might help shower people first, then do an hour or so domestic work. Make the bed, hang the washing out, vacuum, mop, sweep the front veranda. And then off to the next person.”
It’s not just the physical aspect, of course, and Vicky is well aware of that.
“It can be lonely for people. Most of them live by themselves. You talk a bit. That’s a big thing. They might tell you what’s happening: ‘My daughter is coming for the weekend’ or, something like that. They can share it with you.
“I might be the only person they’re seeing all day. You chitty chat about things, and they love it. You need the ability to communicate, and I’ve still got that ability and that interest.”
Vicky has had “regulars” over the years. “I have three or four people I’ve been seeing for a long time. I have one lady who is 92 — I’ve been going to her for years and years. She is just a lovely lady.”
Vicky is old school – down-to-earth and no-nonsense. She’s had tough times in her own life, but it adds to her sense of empathy.
She feels strongly that Home Care Workers play a critical role and are sometimes undervalued. “It means people can stay in their own homes for longer, which so many people want to do.”
Vicky admits that she is past retirement age. “I could have retired last year but I love helping.
“I’m taking a cruise for four days in June — just as a trial, to see how I’d go with a bit more time to myself.”
Chatting with Vicky, however, you get the sense she won’t be retiring anytime just yet.
Words: Margaret Barca