Mother and daughter opt to retrain at new Calvary home

When one door closes, another door opens.

That’s the positive mindset of Jess Jones, former cleaner at the now closed Calvary Bonbeach and now the friendly face at reception greeting residents, visitors and staff at Calvary George Vowell on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.

As a home support officer (HSO), Jess counts administration, rostering, pays and reception among her new-found duties, and is loving her new role, and the new-found confidence it has given her.

Meanwhile, her mother, Lisa Casbolt, also once a cleaner at Calvary Bonbeach, is six weeks into working as a trainee personal care assistant and, like Jess, is loving it.

“I’m a people person, but before it was a quick ‘hi and bye’ and maybe you got to have a bit of a chat while you cleaned,” said Lisa, who works part-time and helps care for her grandchildren on her days off.

“Now I can spend more one-on-one time with residents, help them get dressed and things, or take them outside for a walk, and just be with them.

“I’m 56 and not fond of change, but I’d say to anyone in the same situation to give it a try and just see how you go with it.”

They are sentiments echoed by single mum Jess, who was also upset when told of the closure.

“I was a bit worried, but you’ve got to keep an open mind.  The door opened and I ran with it,” says Jess.

She was asked initially to fill in for a week or two on reception at the old home, then stayed on to train in the role, and jumped at the chance of a HSO role when the refurbished $300,000 Wattle household at George Vowell opened in May.

“I never thought I would be doing an admin role. I never thought I’d be capable of doing it, or imagined that I would be given the opportunity.

“I love my job. You are always busy, it’s challenging, and there is so much more to learn and so many more opportunities for me. And I love the people and spending time with the residents. It is really rewarding.”

“I was struggling before, personally, but this opportunity has changed everything for me.”

Calvary Health Care’s Regional Chief Executive Officer for Victoria, Angela Littleford, said staff were offered redeployment across Calvary’s Victorian residential aged care sites, and many transferred to the same homes as residents, enabling continuity of care.

“These decisions are never easy and every effort was made to support our staff, as well as residents,” Dr Littleford said.

“It is rewarding to know that Jess, Lisa and others have seized the opportunities offered and to see them flourishing in their new roles.”