Aged care nurse cares for the woman who hired her 35 years ago

Shaz Hobbs, a Care Worker at Akooramak Care of Older Persons facility in Warwick, 139km southwest of Brisbane, loves her job.

And the 62-year-old gets to tell that to resident Maureen Gillespie, the woman who first employed her 35 years ago.

Maureen was the aged care home’s Director of Care from 1978 to 2002. She employed Sharon in 1998.

“We often talk about the good old days,” Sharon reminisced.


“(We talk about) when she was in charge … how things were different back then and she always tells me what a good girl I was, and we have a good laugh.”

Shaz juggles a four-days on, four-days off permanent part-time rotating roster in the McCullough wing and regularly helps to fill gaps when staff numbers are stretched.

In addition to her current 25- year stint as a Direct Care Worker with dementia and palliative care patients, Sharon also worked at Akooramak as a “domestic” in the kitchen and cleaning for nine years before taking time away from paid employment to raise her children.

“I love the oldies. I love my job. They are just great to look after. There are challenges but you just deal with it and get on with it,” she said.


Sharon is a key worker in a sector which is facing a shortage of at least 110,000 direct care workers within the next decade unless urgent action is taken to boost the workforce.

A recent Committee for Economic Development Australia (CEDA) report found that the shortage will balloon to more than 400,000 workers by 2050 unless dramatic action is taken.

The Aged and Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA) has been working on solutions, according to CEO Tom Symondson said.

“That’s why we’ve been advocating for better access to education, improved access to housing for care staff particularly in rural areas, easier migration routes for overseas workers, and direct funding of targeted aged care workforce programs,” he said.


“We also need to show that aged care is a worthwhile and wonderful place to work – because it is.”

Shaz’s dedication has recently been acknowledged in the ACCPA “You Are ACE!” campaign which recognises excellence across residential aged care, home and community care, retirement living and seniors housing.

Popular Articles

View All Articles
Article Img
What makes a great retirement village manager?

As anyone who lives in a retirement village will tell you, the village manager is a central figure who is critical to the success of the village and the happiness and wellbeing of village residents. But there’s no doubt the village manager plays an essential role. So, what is the role of a retirement village manager?

Article Img
Retirement villages without exit fees? They’re happening!

Retirement villages without exit fees? They’re happening! Now, some of Australia’s largest retirement village operators are looking at new ways to pay for retirement villages that don’t include exit fees – indeed, there are calls for some exit fees to be banned.

Article Img
What sort of profits do retirement village owners make?

The number of Australians over the age of 75 is expected to increase by 70% over the next six years. The number of Australians over the age of 80 is expected to triple to more than 3.5 million over the next 40 years. As the number of older people in Australia surges, so too does demand for age-appropriate housing – such as retirement villages, which offer an affordable lifestyle, community, and ongoing health and wellness support.

Article Img
73% of Australians willing to sacrifice inheritance for aged care

Nearly three-quarters of all Australians are willing to sacrifice their own inheritance so their parents and grandparents can enjoy the retirement they deserve, according to a new report by B2B aged care service CompliSpace.

Article Img
Volunteers are the backbone of the aged care sector, and more are needed

Tens of thousands of people, of all ages, such as 90-year-old Lily Burns and 20-year-old Charlise Hannagan, volunteer in aged care homes. The Change Makers is the theme for this year’s National Volunteer Week, 15 to 21st May, which celebrates the vital work of volunteers.

Article Img
What is the Future of Rental Retirement Villages?

Across Australia there are approximately 300 rental retirement villages – but few more are likely to be built, which is an unfortunate situation for older Australians. Rental retirement villages operate much like normal rentals, but they offer older Australian with limited financial means the opportunity of housing security, health and lifestyle support, and a welcoming and safe community.

Article Img
This is the food that you can get in residential aged care

Uniting NSW.ACT is aware of the criticism that is often levelled at the food served in residential aged care homes. The Not For Profit is passionate about the food served to residents and determined that as well meeting residents’ nutrition needs, their food looks and tastes delicious and as well as catering to their individual desires as much as possible.

A special thanks to our contributors

Caroline Egan

DCM Media, agedcare101

Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

Ian Horswill


Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.