New Zealand’s population is ageing. By 2036, around 23 per cent of the total population will be aged 65 or over, compared to 14 per cent in 2013. By 2051, the number of older people with a disability is expected to grow by 60 per cent.
According to a 2019 EY report, New Zealand has a relatively high per capita use of aged care residential facilities for people aged 65 years and over compared to other OECD countries.
Currently, there are around 670 age-related residential care facilities with approx. 37,000 beds providing care for approximately 33,000 aged-care residents each year.
There is a huge and growing demand for aged care services as a result of this ageing population.
When it comes to the day to day realities of working in aged care, many might consider it a challenging job. But as anyone who has worked in the industry will tell you, there are more rewarding aspects to the job that you never would have thought of.
Whether you want to change career, re-enter the workforce, or recently finished your studies, here are six reasons why you should start a career in aged care
1. There’s a shortage of healthcare professionals who work in aged care
According to a Grant Thornton analysis, in 2018, aged care vacancies reached a record level and it was predicted New Zealand would soon be 1,000 workers short.
In 2019, a survey found 83% of aged care nurses thought some basic care was delayed or missed.
In 2020, before COVID hit, the New Zealand Nurses Organisation chose understaffing in aged care as its focus for Caregivers Week.
When compared to other specialty areas in health care, there’s a considerable lack of individuals who focus on the elderly. It’s quite rare to see a student out of school or university, even a new, job-seeking graduate pursuing a career in aged care, despite the fact that there are many opportunities out there for those with the right qualifications.
2. The demand for aged care workers continues to increase as the population ages
It’s no secret that people are living longer, especially as general health care and technology continue to go through huge advancements.
Even as other market segments are affected by the ups and downs of the global economy, work in aged care receives a boost in demand because the elderly population is increasing. Employment in the field is growing.
3. Work in aged care offers fascinating variety
The aged care sector is a large one so there’s a diversity of roles.
Of course, the primary focus of elder care is treating ailments and maintaining proper health, but there’s so much more to the practice than the medical side. You’ll interact with patients throughout the day, developing relationships and providing emotional support. These individuals often need someone to confide in, help with an easy task or simply provide a friendly smile.
Along with that, you could be helping with daily activities including cleaning and hygiene, assisting with outings, providing emotional support, lifting and moving people, and supporting their recreational activities.
4. A career in aged care ensures that you’re constantly exercising your health care skills
Unlike emergency room or hospital work, aged care enables you to use many of the skills you gained during your educational experience. You’ll need a working grasp of mental health, personal care, wound management, orthopedics, cardiology, diabetes, physical therapy and social work, just to name a few.
5. Aged care workers can make a real difference in people’s lives
The work can be challenging but if you’re flexible and adaptable, the rewards are huge.
Doesn’t it sound rewarding?
Are you ready to make a difference? If you’ve always wanted to start a fulfilling and rewarding career in healthcare, now has never been a better time to start!