Celebrating Home Instead’s oldest CAREGiver
Meet Home Instead’s older CAREGiver – 80-year-old Barry Friswell.
Barry is also one of our longer-serving CAREGivers, having worked with Home Instead Outer East and Glen Waverley since 2014.
Barry’s previous career started in 1958 when he joined The Commercial Bank in Bendigo and he stayed in banking, enjoying many senior management roles, until 1990. A stint as a finance broker followed before he was approached about helping to set up a medical services business.
“During my senior management days, my preference was being in my people involvement areas with both staff and customers,” Barry says.
“After finding that my brief period of retirement wasn’t all I had hoped it would be, a neighbour who was working in aged care suggested that I might be suitable for a role in this industry.”
Barry undertook his Certificate III in Individual Support, receiving this on July 28, 2014. He transferred to Home Instead from another aged care services company on November 26, 2014.
After five years of working in most of Home Instead’s services, including personal care, transportation, medication reminders, respite care, and companionship, a hip replacement in September 2019 led to a month off work. When he returned to work, Barry decided his preference was to take on respite or transport shifts.
He has no intention to stop working any time soon.
“Very few of my clients know my age,” says the father of three and grandfather of seven.
“Those who do are usually surprised that I continue working and comment that they thought I was much younger – maybe I don’t act my age!”
Barry often cares for clients who are younger than him. He’s had five or six clients pass away since working with Home Instead.
“It’s always very sad, but I feel that my care of those clients and their families and the support I was able to give has been worthwhile. To me, it is something I retain as very special.”
He talks about a client who he was particularly fond of who passed away just over a year ago at the age of 94. The two of them shared a love of cricket and AFL and spent many hours discussing the games and viewing live telecasts or Foxtel replays.
Barry remains in contact with the client’s son and daughter and describes them as friends.
“My role gives me much pleasure to see the way in which clients, partners, families usually react, making me often feel that I am accepted as a part of the family,” he says.
“I am very grateful that my health allows me to continue to work and make other people happy. That’s the real reward – helping others who are less fortunate than me.”
Valuing our older workers
While clearly stating that he is not motivated by politics, Barry does believe that a key component of the Australian workforce is overlooked.
Older Australians can contribute substantially to increasing productivity as well as sharing their knowledge and experience with younger employees.
“I believe there are so many older Australians well qualified and healthy enough to contribute to the workforce in all industries – not only in aged care,” he says.
“I certainly believe that working at an older age helps to keep me both physically and mentally in much better condition than many people I have observed of a younger age who are not working.”
Home Instead Outer East and Glen Waverley Managing Director Rebekah O’Sullivan says Barry’s age has never been a barrier – either for him or the business.
“Barry’s flexible, adaptable, and accommodating of clients’ needs, often travelling distances to provide transport to appointments,” Rebekah says.
“He builds great rapport with clients, really takes the time to get to know them, and remembers little details about them. Barry doesn’t let his age stand in the way of continuing to work.”
In his down time
Barry was divorced about 20 years ago. He now lives alone “part-time”, but says he was lucky enough about seven years ago to reconnect with his very first girlfriend from high school. He’d had no contact with Lynn for about 55 years.
He and Lynn have purchased a caravan and have ventured out on several short trips (curtailed by COVID-19) and a seven-week holiday in Broad Arrow, north of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. Now that COVID restrictions have lifted, they plan to travel more extensively.
“Other than our caravan travel dreams, I do enjoy sharing the wonderful family we have and the ongoing successes of the grandchildren who make me very proud,” Barry says.
About Home Instead
Home Instead is a specialist, national provider of high quality, relationship-based, in-home care for older Australians. We help with a range of personal and lifestyle needs while providing welcome companionship. Our services include assistance with personal care, light household duties, meal preparation, medication reminders, and transport to appointments, shopping and social outings. We take personal responsibility for providing the best in-home care and support to meet our clients’ needs and are committed to addressing the individual and national challenges of Australia’s ageing population. Click here for information about becoming a CAREGiver.