News & Events

Veronica’s back on her bike

November 13, 2018

Veronica Andrew takes seriously the old adage, ‘get back on your bike’.  In recent years she has had some pretty serious falls and injuries but works hard to get herself up and riding again. She loves riding her adult tricycle around not just for the beneficial exercise, but for the chance to better see the people, places and gardens around her new home.

Veronica, 74, who moved from her home in Castlemaine to Rushall Park village a year ago, wants to stay active for as long as possible – despite hiccups along the way.  She got rid of her car when she came to the village, determined to take advantage of the public transport, closeness of shops and her trike. It’s a decision she doesn’t regret.

“I bought my first three wheeler 10 years ago and started riding around Castlemaine which is such a pretty place. I have a battery, which makes it easier,” she said.

Four years ago Veronica fell in her home and broke three bones in her leg. She was out of action for nine months and sold her trike, thinking her riding days were over.

“I went into a bit of a slippery slope mindset, thinking that this was the beginning of the end. When I recovered I was using a mobility scooter, then I progressed to a walker and then a stick. When I arrived at Rushall Park I felt I could have another go and bought another tricycle and joined a U3A On Your Bikegroup. Now I am riding every day and I love it,” she said.

Veronica had another tumble on a bike path a few weeks ago, but nothing broke and she is now restricting her rides to the Capital City Trail, nearby Edinburgh Gardens and the library. Apart from riding Veronica also walks 10,000 to 15,000 steps each day. One of the main obstacles to riding in her area in spring, surrounded by stunning trees and gardens, is the army of Magpies that swoop unsuspecting riders and walkers.

Like every other obstacle, Veronica has overcome that one as well. She has threaded zip ties through the gaps in her bike helmet creating a maze of flipping bits that keep the swooping birds at bay. She happily causes a few laughs as she rides through the village wearing her Magpie proof helmet.

Living in a serviced apartment has made a huge difference to Veronica’s life and taken away a lot of the daily pressures. She has her apartment cleaned, her washing done and meals cooked.

“My attitude has changed since I came to Rushall Park. I am going to make the most of the time I have left in my life and when I get too feeble to care for myself I know there is a place for me with OCAV,” Veronica said.

The benevolence, compassion and facilities offered by OCAV are key reasons Veronica chose to move from the home she loved in Castlemaine. She wanted to know that various levels of care are provided. Importantly, she supports the notion that those with some money can pay to help those who have nothing. And that’s something Veronica knows a bit about. She has five children of her own and several years ago ‘adopted’ a Tamil family, a woman and her two children, seeking asylum in Australia.

“Bette Davis was right when she said ageing is not for ‘sissies’. You have to learn to trouble shoot hiccups that come along as you age. And there is a lot of support offered here to help you deal with the hiccups.”

Josephine Katite may be a long way from Kenya, where she was born and lived until 2005 but the experience of looking after her elderly grandparents is very much with her every day in her work at Liscombe House.

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