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Thelma has no worries in the world now she is safe

June 11, 2021

Until her recent move to Braeside Park, Thelma Waghorn has not felt safe.

She was living in a private rental unit in Cranbourne surrounded by people who frightened her, paying rent made her feel insecure as she never knew what the landlord may do from one month to the next and it just did not feel like home.

The day Thelma fell was when she knew she had to do something about her housing situation. Together with her children, Thelma looked around for an alternative home, found Braeside Park, came and saw the village, and moved in earlier this year. The rest, as they say, is history.

“You never want to fall but that fall was a lucky one for me as moving here has been the best thing I have ever done,” Thelma said.

Aged 74, Thelma is taking full advantage of the activities put on by the village residents’ activities committee as well as the in-house cooking provided by staff.

“My life is busier than ever before,” Thelma said.

“There is bingo, the regular chat ‘n chew, regular walks in and around the neighbourhood, the gardens to enjoy, and there is always something to do or someone to talk with.”

For her, in a way Braeside Park is a bit like coming home. She had lived in Ballarat for many years which she loved.

“I love country living and although Berwick is not country, it has a lovely country-like atmosphere which I thoroughly enjoy.”

She left Ballarat after sadly losing one of her daughters to be closer to her remaining family which includes three grandchildren.

“I have always enjoyed being sociable and being around to help,” Thelma said.

During her working life, Thelma worked in aged care and the disabilities sector as a Personal Care Assistant.

“They were a rewarding 30 years even though at times they were difficult.”

Her work with people with disabilities was extensive and included helping them with cooking, showering, medication and day to day living. In the aged care home, she worked with people living with dementia.

“Watching people go from being aware of what is around to them to not knowing who they are and not recognising family and friends is hard. Being kind and finding ways to connect stood me in good stead then and now,” Thelma said.

Quite of bit of that ‘connecting’ comes from the books Thelma loves reading.

“I like to read about real people, learn about them, what they have done and what makes them remarkable,” she said.

Currently she is reading the memoirs of Barak Obama, a man whose values she deeply admires.

“A Promised Land is about history in the making, about a man who inspired us to believe in democracy. It is a wonderful read about the importance of empathy and a common understanding,” Thelma said.

In a way, the book sums up her enjoyment of living at Braeside Park. As Thelma says with a giggle: “We are all ageing gracefully or disgracefully together. We care for each other. It is a lovely place to be in.”

Sanctuary is how artist Gillian Coates describes her home at Currie Park, OCAV’s village in Euroa. “When I go to Melbourne and I am heading back to Euroa, I can’t wait to get home to the peacefulness of this place. It is like a sanctuary for me."

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