For Sarah Barrett, there’s nothing is more fulfilling than listening to a resident as they reminiscence the most joyful times in their life.

It’s in all a day’s work for Sarah, who in her role as Juniper Pastoral Care Coordinator, is tasked with ensuring the emotional and spiritual wellbeing of residents.

A qualified Exercise Physiologist, Sarah took interest in spirituality and pastoral care which saw her complete post-graduate studies in Ministry and Theology.

Joining Juniper Korumup Residential Aged Care Home in Albany nearly two months ago, the role isn’t Sarah’s first foray into aged care, having previously worked as a home care coordinator for another aged care provider.

“The care staff are so busy taking care of every other aspect of residential life, sometimes people just need someone to sit and chat and just listen and share in their life journey without having to rush off,” she said.

Having developed a passion for working with older people, Sarah loved the idea of working in a role where she could form deeper connections with residents.

“It’s a real honour when people open up and share their life story with you, and to be in a position to share in someone’s journey is extremely fulfilling and rewarding,” Sarah said.

“I get to laugh with them, cry with them, and everything in between.

“Spiritual care isn’t about religion, it’s about the individual and their life experience, whatever that may look like.”

While Sarah admits that at times her job can be emotionally draining, it’s the meaningful conversations she has with residents that make it worthwhile.

“When a resident is feeling lonely, I get to spend time listening to them and validating them,” she said

“Their eyes light up and you can see it means so much to them. It’s a simple thing but meaningful conversation is powerful.”

Reflecting on which of Juniper’s values – Welcome, Respect, Compassion, Hope and Courage – she connects with the most, Sarah said ‘Welcome’ was the first that came to mind.

“I feel very strongly about making sure everyone feels welcomed, valued, heard, and respected,” she said.

“Everyone has the right to feel comfortable in their home or place of work.”

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