24 September 2018

Saturday Conversations with Joan

This story is written by Kathy Willmington, Volunteer at Arcare Sanctuary Manors

As a volunteer I get to enjoy some wonderful uplifting conversations with residents from all walks of life who have come to enjoy a new lifestyle within our lovely residence here at Arcare Sanctuary Manors. Today as the rain came trickling down, I found myself chatting to Joan Harding a vibrant lady who is always happy to have a chat with me. She tells me gladly she is 88 years young and her smile widens.

Joan tells me she is a 10-pound pom, heralding from England, and making the brave move to cross the world and take up residence here in Australia at age 35. Her voyage across the seas often made her ponder about the decision they had made to uproot themselves and move to this foreign land.

Her husband Bill and two children were with her. They came as a family and settled into Brisbane in Queensland. She laughs when mentioning her horror at outside toilet facilities when she arrived all those years ago after a long journey by ship – and was so happy when her husband found a flat for them to live in with sewerage. Oh, those days are far gone for us all thankfully as technology progressed and we now have more modern toileting arrangements.

Joan proudly tells me she is indeed an Australian Citizen and has no thoughts on ever wanting to head back to England. Her husband built their home in Mount Gravatt and from there they forged a lovely life together with their children. She tells me she got herself a part time job, wove tapestry for their home, and delighted in settling into life in the Brisbane suburbs.

As life progressed forward, Bill passed away, and Joan moved to be closer to her daughter who lived on the Gold Coast. They enjoyed special time living together which is something she proudly shares with me, but when it became apparent her health was suffering, they decided together it be best to source out Aged Care Assistance and found her new home here at Arcare Sanctuary Manors Hope Island.

We chat about her stay here at Sanctuary Manors and she delights in sharing with me all the reasons why she loves being a part of our little community here. Her love of life and being part of the social activities is obvious each week as she attends bingo, high tea, pamper manicures, music afternoons and our special lunch outings.

But she tells me it is much more than this.

I feel so content here she explains, the staff are so friendly and they are very willing to assist if needed. All my day to day needs are taken care of and I feel so secure.

Joan enjoys spending time with her daughter who visits often. They do lunch, shopping, and general girl chat, which is so wonderful to see. She is indeed well loved.

I asked Joan if she missed England.

“No, not at all,” she replied, “I am happy living in this great country Australia. I particularly love living here in Arcare Sanctuary Manors, it is beautiful, my room is filled with my life’s memories, family photos, personal trinkets, and the odd Kit Kat for those late night munchies watching a good movie from my comfortable chair.”

“Home is where the heart is, and my heart, is indeed firmly grounded in my room here at Arcare Sanctuary Manors. I have it all, I am one very fortunate woman.”

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