5 July 2022

People of Arcare – Elissa Hay

For this week’s edition of #PeopleofArcare we sit down with Elissa Hay, Lifestyle Coordinator at Arcare Glenhaven. She has been working for Arcare for 2.5 years.


What do you enjoy about your role?

I love the connections that I have developed with the residents. Bringing activities to life from their suggestions and requests is a challenge but we try to make it a wonderful place to live each and every day. Being able to walk through the hallways and talk with each resident about what’s happening in their lives and putting meaningful activities and events on for them to enjoy brings me a real sense of purpose and fulfilment each day.


How does this company differ from others you’ve worked for?

My early career was in administration and brand marketing, so I have a knack for office work. I switched gears in my mid 20s and I studied teaching at university, so I am also a qualified PDHPE teacher. Children and the elderly have a lot more in common than you think! I feel I have taken aspects of both my previous professions and that has helped me to excel in this role. I must admit, I have never thought “outside of the box” so much in my life!


What do you love about Arcare and working in Aged Care?

I love the challenge of making residents excited about an activity or a place we are visiting on the bus outings and having their stories in my mind when planning an outing or an activity that gets a lot of people involved; especially when there is a deeper connection to a resident. Working at Arcare has taught me a lot about patience and resilience, especially throughout the pandemic. My team and I are constantly trying to find ways to engage with each and every resident to develop those deeper connections and make it feel more like a family than a workplace.


What are your favourite stories of working at your residence / with your team / with a client?

My team recently switched to the new purple polo uniforms, and we have been having a lot of lovely comments and compliments about us standing out even more than we did before!

One of my favourite stories is about a lovely resident who has left us – we would always reminisce about her husband who had not long passed away when she joined us at Arcare. He played the organ in their church, and she had some CDs and we would play them in her room. One afternoon I suggested we search through YouTube to see if someone had videos of him playing the organs at the concert hall – we found one video of him that a family member had put on the internet and in the afternoons, I would visit her and we would put on the video of her husband playing her favourite piece of music. It made her feel a great sense of pride and she had one last connection to him.


What tips or advice would you give to someone looking to work in Aged Care?

You need to be patient and have good listening and communication skills. Our older generation are often lonely and looking for someone to talk with or reminisce with. There are some amazing stories out there, you just need to take the time to listen and enjoy them!


What are your hobbies? What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

My cat Mittens takes up a lot of my time, she is very inquisitive and perceptive! She loves to show off and she has a very cheeky personality. I have recently taken up diamond paintings and love to create artworks with epoxy resin, paint, and other mediums. I also love a good murder mystery to binge watch on a weekend!


What is your special talent that you enjoy doing outside of work? How did you learn this


I can juggle with 3 oranges or apples. I learned to juggle from an old flame who was a magician. He taught me some different tricks as well, but juggling was something I kept up as it was quite fun.


Can you share one fun fact about yourself? It could be an interesting experience that you had, a quirky talent or your favourite recipe.

I have travelled a lot through the UK, Japan, America, Canada, New Zealand, and other places in the world. I love to get across the world to experience other cultures and interesting places. Japan was a favourite with the history and amazing food. My first-time snowboarding in the USA and I wiped out in a spectacular cart-wheeling fashion and broke my tailbone. That was on day 2 of 14!