Dorothy loved her life at St Ives, she was in the best of health and in her prime, and all because of the lifestyle available at her doorstep.
Full of mixed emotions with regard to leaving her familiar surroundings and home, Dorothy finally agreed with family that moving closer to Wembley was apt. Her beloved husband had been placed in care at an all too young age, changing her life forever. So at 73 decided to move into St Ives Centro.
Sitting in the sun in her new home, watching the bowls, having roving dinner parties and a social life that she thoroughly enjoyed.
The first Friday we planned a family dinner we were worried for Dorothy settling in and felt we wanting to get her out as much as possible. A knock on her door from a neighbour with an invitation to the usual Friday night drinks, Chase the Ace and dinner changed our plans. Dorothy declined our offer, and bravely presented at the crowded room whereupon she was swamped with friendly faces and introduced to all. During her 17 years living at St Ives and as the complex grew in size, she met more and more people, happily some from her childhood home in the wheat belt.
Apart from visiting Raymond daily, there was much to be involved in. Monday would find Dorothy in the common room with her Chi Jung group before breaking for coffee. Monday afternoons Scrabble, Tuesday mornings Water Aerobics conducted by a trained physio therapist.
Initially she joined a walking group and an exercise class for seniors conducted by the Town of Wembley - but in latter years all her exercise pursuits could be taken at St Ives. Wednesday mornings was a Tai Chi group conducted by the residents themselves via the big screen TV, Wednesday afternoon was a Rummy Cub group which used their skills with numbers and concentration both stimulatingly uplifting. Bowls also available was always fun with an energetic group, also eager lessons.
When provided a computer by family, she was among a group of residents teaching other residents computing skills along with ongoing support.
House dinners and festive functions were all enthused over by Dorothy and she was so very happy to join in decorating Easter trees, Christmas trees in the lobby of Hamersley all included fellowship.
Lunches with friends were enjoyed in the restaurant on special occasions. Food was prepared by a chef and his staff. Visiting friends were happy to attend and often knew other diners. Friends were always welcome at casual barbecues mixing with good humoured residents and a welcoming relaxed atmosphere.
At times she was thankful for the on-site doctor visits, handyman and hairdresser too.
The social life, new friends and discovering old friends helped when her life plans changed and left her feeling sad and lost. Dealing with death and handling finances was daunting. With friends close at hand and talking with women her own age who had overcome the same fears she found comfort and encouragement.
Dorothy came into her own by realising that people needed people and people needed her and she had much to offer. Her experience of being a St Ives Resident for 17 years saw her remain positive, healthy, and involved with never a dull moment nor a wasted one. At 91 she was still using every moment in a meaningful way for the resources to do so were right where she lived.
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