News & Events

When home beats a lottery win

November 19, 2019

Kay Baker felt like she had won the lottery when she arrived at Leith Park in 2015. Four years down the track she reckons it was better than winning the lottery.

“I was delighted and my family was also happy when I came here because I am close to them and they can see how safe and secure I am now,” Kay said.

Her first days at the OCAV village in St Helena made a big impression on Kay. She moved into her unit and found a welcoming note from her ‘buddy’, Sandra, who soon showed her around, introduced her to people and encouraged her to join in village activities. Now she does the same thing when she meets new residents, believing that hospitality can make a huge difference in how people adjust to their new life.

“It can be very hard for some people who have moved from their homes or who have lost a partner before moving in. Hospitality can make all the difference. We have a buddy system here and you are matched with someone when you arrive who helps you settle in,” she said.

Kay who lived in Melbourne for most of her life, was living in Queensland with her sister when she realised it was time to come home. She had retired from working in aged care and was ‘worn out’.

She looked at various options, but loved Leith Park. Knowing that Liscombe House is there if she needs further care down the track is also a comfort.

She was moved from her first cottage to make way for the newly completed development, but isn’t complaining. Kay was moved to a cottage at the front of the village that had been renovated with a new kitchen, bathroom, painting and carpets.  “I feel so lucky to be living where I do.”

Kay, who has never driven, loves buses and living at the front of the village means she can catch a public bus to a different part of Melbourne most days. She loves walking and discovering areas that she has never seen. Kay, 74, rode her bike everywhere before moving to Leith Park. But she soon realised that riding around the hilly streets of St Helena was not something she could manage or feel safe doing.

Kay is involved in Leith Park’s village life having recently participated in the village’s 150th celebrations, serving afternoon teas to people who wanted a glimpse into her wonderful life. She is a regular at exercise classes and enjoys being a part of the social activities in the village.

“I have a great life here with no stresses or problems. The management are wonderful and the people are very friendly and helpful. But you can also have your privacy if you just want to stay in your village. I live amongst happy people and I think that makes you feel good and good about starting your day.”

I love the ‘magimix’ of people who make up the community and that it is a safe and happy place to live. - Jo Portlock

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