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Paulette’s story: Thriving as a physio assistant as the age of 80

Paulette Taylor started working at the onsite gym at Feros Village Wommin Bay almost a decade ago, starting as a volunteer when her mother was a resident.

After her mum passed in 2016, she was offered a permanent position.

Now, at the age of 80, she is working as a physio assistant under the guidance of Physiotherapist Kai Carlson, running two gym sessions a week and another weekly Strength and Balance session.

Paulette also runs one-on-one sessions in rooms of residents who can’t make it to the gym.

“Age is simply a number, and not something I ever really think about.” Paulette said. “I’m older than many of the residents who come to the gym, and I can relate easily with them about our earlier lives and how growing up then,
is so different to the world we live in now.

“Somehow this common bond helps motivate them to move and keep active.”

Paulette says the residents are the reason she gets out of bed each day and is excited to come to work.

“I love helping them maintain their health, or getting even better after coming to the gym with me a few days a week. It’s about staying independent at our age and seeing the confidence in my clients to continue taking care of themselves.”

Along with teaching one-to-one and group fitness, Paulette is avidly studying a range of health and fitness disciplines online.

“I love learning and it’s important at any age to keep an active mind and body. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it!”

A natural thrill seeker, Paulette’s career has been an adventurous one. She’s spent years climbing, abseiling and surveying all the caves between Canberra & Sydney with the ANU Caving Club. She has been a scuba diving instructor and cave diver,
taking groups on diving trips to NZ each year.

While white water rafting in NZ, her raft overturned in the icy, fast running water and she suffered what the doctors described as a ‘perfect scalping’ when she was hit on the side of the head, leaving her ear hanging off.

Once recovered, Paulette and her husband bought a cruising yacht, did lots of sailing around Sydney and crewed a Sydney to Hobart yacht home, encountering a scary storm in the middle of Bass Strait along the way.

She experienced being shipwrecked on an uninhabited island in the Bunker group, and wasn’t found for 14 days. But it didn’t put her off her time in the ocean, enjoying a 10 day ocean canoe trip on the east coast of Tasmania.

“I’ve lived for sport and adventure, and have always recharged my batteries with a pack on my back somewhere in the great outdoors.”

Paulette gained her qualifications in Naturopathy and Osteopathy and conducted her private practice on the Northern Beaches of Sydney for many years. Here she ran seven-day courses on the Mind and Healing, and taught massage in the Healthy Lifestyle courses
in Mona Vale Hospital. “I’ve always felt the pull to experience all the excitement life has to offer.”

Paulette recently celebrated her 80th birthday at Feros Care with a fellow volunteer who also turned 80 the next day. The picture of health, Paulette doesn’t look like she is slowing down anytime soon, which is great news for her residents.

And Paulette’s secret? It’s a very simple one –  “I keep an active mind and body.”

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