Tracey, diversional therapist, celebrates 10 years of smiles at Masters Lodge
Life as Tracey Beach knew it changed when her mother went into an aged care home at just 49, after being diagnosed with bowel cancer and emphysema.
Despite growing up in a family of aged care workers, Tracey initially chose a different career path. She was busy running her own floristry business and studying to be a teacher’s aide.
But a visit to her mum in a Melbourne aged care home gave Tracey a change of perspective and a new life purpose. She wanted to improve the quality of life and care for people who were living in similar facilities.
‘She [my mum] wouldn’t come out of her room, and she wouldn’t eat and always complained about being there,’ Tracey says.
‘I didn’t feel like it was a place that young people or really anyone should be, so I thought I could make some change to the sector, and brighten it up and bring some cheer.’
As the diversional therapist at Masters Lodge Aged Care Facility, in Hervey Bay, Tracey is responsible for the residents’ lifestyle and wellbeing. Her role includes overseeing social activities, liaising with family members, organising volunteers, creating care plans and much more.
In May, she celebrated 10 years at Blue Care. Since starting at Masters Lodge, Tracey has created an impressive social calendar for the residents, bringing a variety of activities to suit all interests, including singers, guitarists, barbecues, Bunnings workshops, and arts and crafts, just to name a few.
She knows senior people who stay socially active experience many health benefits, including better cognitive function. While bringing “cheer” was her initial goal, her motivation to make more significant improvements to the residents’ social, emotional and physical wellbeing has only grown stronger each year.
‘I believe I have, well I hope I have, brought a bit of a culture change to how we work in aged care.’
Having felt left out of her mum’s care plan, Tracey is dedicated to making her residents’ families feel involved in the decision-making process.
‘I am a strong believer that when a resident moves here, this becomes their families’ home too.
‘The focus is generally on the resident and not necessarily the family…[but] I have a personal relationship with every family member.’
She says anyone wanting to change careers to make a real difference in people’s lives shouldn’t hesitate in considering a job in aged care.
‘I love it…absolutely love it. It is a very rewarding job.’
When asked if she planned to take long service leave, Tracey says she is much too busy with a renovation at the aged care facility and new staff coming onboard.