Three decades of caring – Linda’s story
Posted on September 24, 2021
Last month, we bid farewell to one of our longest-serving Residential Managers – Linda Torricella from Juniper Hilltop Residential Care in Bentley. As she embarks on her well-earned retirement, we asked Linda about her journey with Juniper during 33 years of dedicated service.
With all her children in school, Linda was looking to get back into the workforce. It was 1988 and she had a desire to work in aged care but she’d never worked in the industry.
Linda didn’t let her lack of experience get in the way of her goal and she joined Juniper as a cleaner at Juniper Hilltop.
“I really wanted to work in aged care and I was happy to get in on any level I could and work towards achieving a goal,” she said.
“I just have a lot of respect for the individuality of the people being looked after – they have a past, present and future. People don’t see them as a whole and I wanted to make sure our residents were respected.”
Linda took every opportunity to learn and gain qualifications.
After working as a cleaner for a year, Linda progressed to running a dementia therapy group. With Juniper’s support, she completed a Carer’s course and soon began working as a Carer, gaining further experience in working with people living with dementia.
In the following years, Linda completed her Certificate IV in Business and a Diploma in Frontline Management with Juniper, giving her the skills to take on Supervisor roles at the care home.
It was in 2004, 16 years after starting with Juniper, and already a very familiar face at Hilltop, that Linda was promoted to Residential Manager.
After working for more than three decades in the sector, Linda has seen a lot of changes in aged care.
“The standards of care have increased markedly over the years. I think Juniper has been very progressive in making sure that we adapted to all of the new standards and changes,” Linda said.
“Moving into the new Aged Care Quality Standards was a huge change for everybody but we could see the benefits for the residents,” she said.
Having worked her way up through the ranks at Juniper, as a leader, Linda said she always enjoyed building her team and seeing her team members develop and reach their potential.
She loved her work.
“I could sit in my office and I could hear the staff and residents laughing. It was never quiet and ordered, it was always a homely atmosphere and that’s how it should be because it is people’s homes,” Linda said.
“Going into aged care can be a whole new start. With a little bit of support, people can enjoy so much more about their life. It’s uplifting, people are enjoying their lives and when you walk into Juniper Hilltop you feel welcome,” she said.
Linda retired in early August to spend more time with her husband Lou and their new German Shepherd puppy Max.
“In the past 17 years I’ve admitted every one of the residents and met each and every family, I employed almost every staff member and I’ve travelled with each of them on their journeys,” she said.
“Walking away from Hilltop, the team I built is a really, really good team, and I know the residents will be well looked after, so I was comfortable walking away but there were still lots of tears.”