News & Events

Peg’s cup runneth over

August 17, 2016

Braeside Park resident Peg Willcocks

Ask Peg Willcocks how she is going and she’s quick to respond. “I can still walk, talk and eat; what more could I want?” Actually, the 92-year-old Braeside Park resident does much more than that, but one gets the feeling that Peg is happy with her lot.

Peg moved into Braeside Park almost 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back. She gets to look out each day at the garden and sits in the sun when it struggles through Melbourne’s winter sky. Each of Braeside Park’s 14 assisted living units face out into a garden so there’s no sense of being isolated from the lovely surrounds of the village.

Peg may have slowed down from a once busy career and family life, but she is right in the thick of activities at Braeside Park. She spent her first 10 years in the village in an independent unit before moving to assisted living where she is served breakfast and lunch in the communal dining room and a enjoys a light supper in her own unit.

Her sewing machine is set up, ready for action and she loves her craft work, participating in the village’s weekly knitting group. As well Peg goes to exercise classes twice a week, chat ‘n chew on a Monday morning and social activities whenever they are on offer. She uses a walking frame each day to go down to the local shops to buy what she needs or just for the exercise.

Peg was widowed when she was 53 years old, still with some of her eight children at home. Before moving to Braeside Park she lived with family members in Melbourne where most of her children, 25 grandchildren and 33 great-grandchildren live.

Most people in the village know Peg and many call her their friend. She loves a chat – a legacy of decades counseling and supporting people through difficulties in their life.

Many, many years ago she studied grief counseling hoping to support people who were terminally ill, but she ended up working with women who had lost a child during pregnancy. As well she volunteered for many years with Lifeline.

“My counseling work was very rewarding because it helped bring the mothers some consolation and give their child some recognition. For them there was always a sense of ‘where is my child’,” Peg said.

“I heard some very sad stories in that time. I don’t think people understand the terrible affect on mothers and fathers of having a stillborn baby.”

Peg has tried her hand at a few other things over the years, including catering for events for a few years. Now, with so many family members she is flat out attending all the events she gets invited to.

“Now I go to weddings, but I don’t go to all the 21st birthdays and Christenings,” she said. “It’s a bit much when you get to my age.”

Peg and her friend put their names down for Rushall Park in Clifton Hill and Braeside Park at the same time many years ago. She has no regrets that the opportunity to join the Berwick village came up first.

“I love that it is small here and like a family. And the staff make our lives as easy as possible. They treat us with respect and I don’t think they just see me as an old lady that has to be looked after. They recognise me as a person. That really means a lot when you get old.”

Leith Park is a wonderful place for single older women because of the community and the age-friendly accommodation. I don’t think I have ever felt as safe as I have here.

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