Caring through Christmas: Disability support work never stops

Thank you to all of our staff who will be working over the upcoming holidays.

December 20, 2022

For people outside of the disability industry, when they think of Christmas, they often think of time off, family bonding or taking time out for themselves. However, we understand that for our disability support workers and the 2.65 million carers across Australia, Christmas can look a little different.

“Our support workers are out there on the frontline, supporting the needs of our customers, day in and day out. Caring for our customers never stops,” said Aruma Manager Shared Living, Ishwori Gaire. 

Ishwori manages 15 casual and part time staff members who work over two Supported Independent Living (SIL) homes. With eight high needs customers across the two sites, many staff are required to work over Christmas, New Year, and the many public holidays. 

“Some customers will go home to visit their families on the day, but because of their complex needs they only stay for a few hours. A lot of my customers also have ageing and elderly parents, so even if they wanted to take their children in for longer, they can’t give them the support we can,” said Ishwori. 

At Aruma, we are a multicultural family of over 4,200 support workers who support over 5,500 customers. Ishwori practices Hinduism, so for him and his family, Dashain and Deepawali (celebrated in September/October/November) are the biggest cultural and family events of the year. 

“I have been in the disability support industry since 2008 and have always worked and been on call over Christmas and New Year. I always volunteer to work so that the other managers who celebrate Christmas can have this time of year off,” said Ishwori. 

He continued, “many of my Hindu and Muslim staff say the same thing. We see this as a time to prioritise our customers who have a cultural connection to Christmas.” 

Aruma Support Worker, Trina Reed, works at Ishwori’s SIL homes and after 21 years at Aruma, she has also worked her fair share of Christmas’. 

“Christmas time is great because everyone is just so happy. It is extremely busy between getting the customers ready in the morning, taking them to see family and celebrating Christmas with the customers who stay at the SIL, but we make it lots of fun,” said Trina. 

This year, thanks to the generosity of her colleagues, Trina will get to spend Christmas with her son. 

She continued, “I celebrate Christmas and we have a few Lebanese women at our SIL who always offer to work Christmas if I can work on Eid-al-Fitr or Eid-al-Adha for them. We have worked together for a long time and get on exceptionally well.” 

Aruma staff are committed to putting our customers first throughout every stage of the year.