For Juniper Enrolled Nurse Sonia Sharma, it was love at first sight. Sonia tells her story on how Juniper Riverslea Residential Aged Care Home has become her second family.

“I stepped into Juniper Riverslea originally as a student placement two years ago and I just fell in love with the place. I have such affection for the residents and the staff, it’s like my second home.

“For me, being able to share feelings and make connections while chatting with our residents is the same as sitting with my Grandma or Mum and hearing the stories of their life. I really have fell in love with our residents.

“Growing up in India I was raised by my Grandma a lot as Mum was a teacher, so I’d always grown up around older people so there is that inbuilt respect.

“Originally coming out of school I did a Masters in IT and a diploma in Business but once I had kids I thought now is my time to really pursue my passion.

“I come from a family of doctors and growing up in India with a big family we love chatting. Caring is really part of our nature.

“Caring for others, and being surrounded by medicine growing up, I always knew nursing was my ultimate passion. I decided to do Enrolled Nursing at TAFE and grabbed the opportunity to do a student placement with Juniper.

“Initially, as a student I didn’t know what to expect. At first, in aged care I thought there could be too much sadness with people passing away. But then I changed my mindset, I could bring another way, bring my own happiness.

“Being properly supported to learn and find my way and while I love being with the residents and caring for them, what makes this Aged Care Home great is the staff. We are like family. And we look out for each other and are willing to step up for each other.

“Looking after someone at the end stage in palliative care is what a very blessed person can do. It can be emotionally draining as I look after people not simply as “a resident”, but like they are my own family.

“To be with their actual family and to be able to support them – to offer them as much time as they want to be able to stay with their loved one – is something real I can do.”

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