Apr 28, 2017

8 Things To Do Before You Are 80

You only live once, which is why you should live it to the fullest. And it’s never too late to do something fun and interesting. Have at look at these 8 activites that Uniting residents are trying

Take up sailing

Last year 250 residents from Uniting services headed to Penrith Regatta Centre for a day of sailing and fishing. For Uniting client Stanley Walker, 84, it was his first time sailing. He said that didn’t stop him taking over the steering once he was out on the water. “I could have stayed out there all day!” he said. The day was supported by not-for-profit organisation Sailability – several Uniting services have regular sailing outings with Sailability volunteers.

Become a calendar girl

Eighteen gorgeous ladies, aged between 78 and 94, from Uniting Starrett Lodge posed for a tasteful nude calendar for 2017. Resident Sheila Brine, 82, was delighted to finally be a calendar girl. She said she had “never had so much fun” and the photo shoot was a chance to “go out in a blaze of glory”. Read more  about the ‘girls’– and see some pictures!

Brew your own beer

Putting on a homebrew wasn’t a first for everyone in Uniting Caroona Yamba’s beer brewing club – former publican Jim Hughes already knew quite a bit about fermentation – but residents said they were surprised making beer was allowed in an aged care service. Manager Debra Smith said the service was actually “quite happy to cater for residents with their own interests.” She added that the group provided important social interaction for the men – as well making some fine beers to share! Read more about these beer brewing blokes.

March in the Mardi Gras

People who are in their 80s today grew up in a time when homosexuality was illegal – as well as being considered a mental illness and an affront to God. Thankfully times have changed significantly since then, but there are still people from some sections of society who struggle to be accepted – people from certain cultural or religious backgrounds, people living with a disability and older people. Uniting resident Alma Berry, who has been an active supporter of LGBTI rights since finding out her niece was a lesbian, marched with Uniting at the Mardi Gras Parade this year to show her love and support.


Help people in need

A team of knitters in Nowra have been sending woollen blankets, beanies and jumpers to local and international charities for years. The Uniting Osborne House residents get together on Wednesdays to knit and chat. They have given their handiwork to a local homeless organisation, an animal shelter and to hospitals in Africa. One resident, Vonnie Muller, said her son visited a hospital in Kenya and saw her blankets on the beds.

Care for a pet

One resident of Uniting Bruce Sharpe Lodge used to keep Burmese cats, so he was delighted when staff member Jane Nolan was downsizing and needed to re-home her Burmese cat, Zoe. The other residents were excited to have a pet to share. Zoe has the run of the Lodge and is adored by residents and staff alike … even when she gets into trouble or creates a commotion by getting stuck in the lift.

Write a book

Residents at Uniting Starrett Lodge will go down in history after putting together a book of their stories The Lives We Lived to celebrate their experiences and adventures. Copies are for sale though Starrett Lodge. Find out more about the Uniting Starrett Lodge book.

Have the time of your life

Mary Hadji didn’t have it easy when she was young – she left school at 14 to work in her family’s fish shop, then at 22 she married a man who turned out to be a gambler. Mary moved to Uniting Ronald Coleman Lodge in her 80s and says it’s the happiest she’s ever been. After her husband passed away she became a passionate traveller and has been to Bali several times. “I sit and think how lucky I am, I have all I need, and I don’t want anything else … except of course to travel more!” she said.

This article was originally published on Uniting’s blog HERE

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