Erynne Casey, Bachelor of Social Work Student (soon to be graduate), shares more of her placement experience at BallyCara.
Three months have flown by since starting my student placement at BallyCara. Experiencing life as a social worker with Linda, my supervisor, has provided me with invaluable knowledge and a greater understanding of the aged care industry. Prior to entering BallyCara, I felt the weight of a societal attitude that believed aged care was and is a place for decline. This attitude is especially dominant amongst people of my own generation – Gen Z. BallyCara refreshingly flips this negative attitude through their Wellness and Sona approach. Now I am learning through my placement that there is power in channelling a wellbeing outlook in the aged care industry. As I near the end of my placement, the following are my reflections on working with BallyCara.
While studying social work, I have been taught to think critically and holistically. When I consider the health and wellness strategy of BallyCara as part of their service provision, I try and view this through a critical lens. The physical health of our bodies is obviously a major contributor to wellbeing and can include mobility, strength, and the absence of pain. However, the emotional, spiritual, financial, environmental, social, and creative areas of health are sometimes overlooked as key contributors to wellness.
BallyCara’s multidisciplinary teams allow for each area of wellbeing to be supported for people accessing services. Exercise physiology, physiotherapy and nursing assist in optimising one’s physical health, while social work can support the emotional, financial, social and environmental aspects of health. In terms of spiritual and creative wellbeing, I recently had the privilege to shadow BallyCara’s Art Therapist around Sunnyside Villa and learnt how she nurtures people’s spiritual and creative health through art. Not only did art therapy sessions provide a safe space for Residents, but I saw the connection that was made between transferring one’s spiritual thoughts or creativity through a paintbrush to canvas. Using the medium of art can contribute to wellbeing by tapping into spiritual and emotional expression.
The use of technology has been a frequent theme when working with older people during my placement. If I were to say the word technology, the term ‘health’ would not naturally spring to mind. However, by using a critical stance on health and wellness, I have come to analyse how technology and health may complement one another. Some may not lean towards the idea that technology is a contributor to health. Some may even believe that technology contributes to poor health as is the case with too much screen time. Many of us have probably experienced how a laptop, iPad or mobile phone can interfere with the value of organic human connection. However, technology such as social media and video chatroom tools can also promote connection with others, especially with those geographically far away. Technology also includes the use of everyday electrical appliances such as the television or dishwasher, ATMs, GPS, emergency alarms, and smart watches. Having the ability to adapt and utilise technology with relative ease can provide a sense of independence and control in this ever-changing modern world. With technology ever-evolving, it makes me wonder whether technology professionals will have more of a role in the multidisciplinary health team to support older people in utilising new technologies.
I have met unique, inspiring and resilient individuals throughout my student placement. I have recognised that the meaning of health, wellbeing and happiness is different for everyone. For one person, they might consider health as going for a walk once a day and receiving a good night’s sleep. For another person, they may consider themselves healthy when they are able to see their grand-children regularly or spend time with their pet. What puts a smile on our face is unique and dependent on who we are and what influences us.
Thank you for all that you have contributed through your placement, Erynne! We hope to see more of you in the future.
Categorised in: BallyCara Blog
This post was written by Lachlan Green