Elizabeth (Liz) Simmonds has been a dedicated member of the Minda team for 45 years! Originally hailing from Tasmania with training and a background as a psychiatric auxiliary nurse, Liz made the move to Adelaide with a friend, for a change of scenery.
After her friend applied for a role at Minda, Liz also decided to put forward her application and she landed a most memorable interview. Liz recalls her meeting with Mr Crawford and Mrs McGraine: “I spent most of the interview explaining a word I used (rummin) to describe a doctor I had previously worked with.”
Nerves aside, Liz landed the job and has now made decades of memories and relationships with staff and clients. Liz had her first shift at Fischer where she looked after 30 clients, taking them out on various outings, including picnics. She’s spent 10 years at PKC and has also worked at Rogerson, Burnell, and Crawford Houses.
Of those different experiences Liz has made up 43 of her 45 years doing night shifts and is currently working in Accommodation Support at Abbeville Terrace, Park Holme. Liz says she’s always liked the night shifts: “It gives me flexibility and a good work-life balance to spend time with my family,” which now consists of four children, nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Liz’s role includes supporting and caring for six clients and having the knowledge to manage their medical issues, general assistance at the household and just having a chat. “We discuss upcoming outings and holidays, what they’re watching on TV, to helping with lunch preparation.”
On staying with Minda for 45 years, Liz says what she cherishes about her role is: “The social aspect of it, working with peers that you know and the consistent joy of the job. Ultimately though, it’s the clients that I hold in my heart and what keeps me here.”
Some of these heartfelt memories include becoming an advocate for a client named Billy Gobell who was in PKC. “He became part of my family and attended our social functions including my daughter’s wedding. He used to chase my children around the house playing tag and loved my husband and used to try and copy his mannerisms. Billy was part of our family until he passed away.”
Liz also loved undertaking creative craft projects with clients, and recollected making 30 lampshades and seeing them all on display at the old Burnell building. She also holds fondness for a longstanding nickname a client gave her – “Frizz Simmonds”.
Recently receiving recognition at Minda’s Years of Service morning tea, Liz says that looking back at her time with Minda she has seen considerable change. “While there are changes you sometimes don’t want, I am proud to be part of Minda. I wouldn’t have changed anything about my career, it’s a lovely place to work and I’m still happy to be here.”