Shiva Gopalan thought he would be tending to footballers when he finished studying physiotherapy, but a part-time job in an aged care home changed the course of his career.
He started listening to and appreciating reminiscences of people his grandparents’ age and realised he could help improve the quality of their lives.
Shiva says he is building his career in aged care because he is inspired by the people he meets: “The main thing that keeps me in aged care is hearing these wonderful stories of what they have done in their lifetimes, because they are very inspiring people.”
Shiva, who now oversees around 60 staff and contractors in his role as Wellness and Lifestyle Manager for not-for-profit aged care provider Warrigal, says the staff who work at their care homes often develop a close relationship with them.
A high point for Shiva was the day he helped a man in his late 70s take his first steps after he was felled by a stroke.
"He hadn't stood for six years. After the first time he walked 15 metres, he sat down, literally in tears. He was so grateful and so happy that he was able to achieve that for himself."
Shiva says there were five females to every male in his four-year university degree in Health Sciences (Physiotherapy), but he encourages more young men to enter the field.
"I have developed a love for aged care and haven't looked back."