I’m 80 now. My mother, her sister, and their grandmother all died when they were 85. So between now and then I want to live my life and kick up my heels, because in the past and the recent past, I’ve been very low key and very mindful of actually conforming. I want to be Aunty Mame. I want to go and have a good time, within reason, not hurting anybody but just rallying the troops and getting the most out of this final chapter. These twilight years.
I’d like to lead some courses on numerology to help people my age. I see the benefit in helping keep our minds alert and then – if we gather this information – we then go ahead and align the older person with, I’d like to think, with their grandchildren. If they find good character points in the information that I’ll be projecting to them, hopefully the little ones will tune in and want to know more. I see a gross separation with the older people who have got their life and the younger people have got theirs with computers and everything and all this IT equipment and, so consequently, they’re not getting the opportunity to come together. I feel it’s important, the older people have so much to share with the younger people and the younger ones can keep the older people alive.
So if we can all just go through life being ourselves, without needing to be dogmatic or overrule people, then people respond, and more particularly the little ones.
I like to remain open and stay in the moment and not have expectations.
To be able to see something in others, it means you are that way too. To me, we don’t carry anything special in our pockets. But what we do carry in our hearts is an opportunity to be there as a person of example.
I left a corporate job to go and work in the newly opened Feros Care village in Bangalow in 1997. I was driven and I don’t know what made me do that. I feel very blessed to have been part of the first intake of staff. It was a beautiful place to work. You’d put a doll in the arms of the old ladies who needed someone to hold, and the old guys who couldn’t sleep at night-time, they’d say, ‘I’m waiting for the bus to come, I’m doing the night shift’, so I’d have to go and find the Gladstone bag and give them that. I found it very fulfilling.
Although the ‘sundown syndrome’ when you have to shower them before bed was quite an experience. I’d come out very damp sometimes which we’d all laugh about. I’d say to the staff when there was a full moon, and I think they thought I came from another planet, ‘hey tonight we might have a very difficult night because it’s a full moon and it stirs up a lot of personalities, particularly at this age and particularly if they have dementia.’ And the next day they’d creep up to me and say, ‘hey you were right, no one would settle.’ And through that comment I feel like I actually left a mark there, that people weren’t going to try and jump on the elderly as they’d realised it was just the moon.
I’ve always learnt from the elderly. I’ve met some beautiful people, elegant, proud, well-spoken women that had reached these tender ages where their time was nigh, but they were so beautiful to be around and they wanted to talk and when they were dying and their family didn’t come in (there were a lot of older people who didn’t have family around at this time) there were a group of us, about half a dozen, decided to make up this little group. If someone was lying there and didn’t have people around them and we knew it wouldn’t be long, we’d stay over our shift and hold their hand or just play some soft music. It was difficult but just lovely to be able to do that. I was just in the right place at the right time.
We have to make the elderly and the aged feel part of our community and not feel like they’ve got to apologise for being around, taking up space on the earth.
You can only go through life listening to your heart and the voice within and being guided by that.