Garden keeps Nancy busy

A woman helping an older woman in the retirement home kitchen.
A woman helping an older woman in the retirement home kitchen.

Nancy has been assisted to stay at home with the support of Royal Freemasons personal care attendant Joanne Letsas, who helps with cooking, ironing, cleaning, shopping and any odd jobs. 

Nancy said being able to remain in her house is very important to her.

“It means everything to me. My husband and I built it and moved in here 50 years ago,” she said.

Nancy has been part of gardening clubs for more than 40 years and recently made her television debut on the ABC’s Gardening Australia.

“My garden keeps me going and keeps me active,” she said.

Joanne, who has worked with Nancy for many years. 

“Just by listening to Nancy, you realise what is truly important,” Joanne said.

“I first met Nancy years ago. I remember watching her dance with her husband at a Christmas party. To see their love and devotion in their mid-nineties … it made me cry watching them together.

“Last week, I helped Nancy with meal preparation, some ironing and vacuuming. I might make her a cup of tea, and we have a chat. I ask what needs to be done.

“Her vision is impaired, but it doesn’t stop her – she still cooks, cleans and does her own washing.

“She is very house proud and is absolutely amazing.”

Nancy said that while she can look after herself, it’s getting harder. 

“Joanne helps me a lot and I’m very happy. She’ll do anything for me. Sometimes she’ll make a cake or make fritters that I can freeze.

“It’s a social visit as well. I might not see anybody all day and it’s nice to have someone to talk to.

“She is a wonderful person, so helpful. If there were more people like Joanne, there would be no trouble at all.”

Joanne enjoys helping people stay in their homes.

“The satisfaction I get in bringing happiness to someone’s day and keeping someone at home for as long as they can be … I love what I do.

“It can be a challenge, but you go home feeling like you have achieved something.” 

“Most people would love to stay at home for as long as they can, and being able to help make that happen is a wonderful thing. There is no place like home.”

Nancy has some advice for the younger generation on how to live a long and happy life.

“Eat good, healthy food. Be kind to other people and loving. Take care of each other.”

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