Jan 22, 2024

It’s never too late: At 83 this grandma gets her first tattoo

Gillian Murphy, 83, is all smiles as she is tattooed for the first time. [Source: Lifeview]

It’s not every day an 83-year-old grandmother returns to her aged care home with a fresh tattoo, but Lifeview Emerald Glades resident Gillian Murphy has done just that, confidently sporting the brand new artwork on her right arm.

Gillian was lucky enough to have her first visit to a tattoo parlour captured on camera by Channel 9 New in Melbourne, with Lifeview giving her a chance to experience something new. 

When Gillian was born in 1940, you would have only seen tattoos on gangsters, rebellious teenagers or patriotic military personnel. But for Gillian this was an opportunity to connect with some of her youngest family members.

Gillian’s tattoo adventure was the brainchild Emerald Glades Social Support Coordinator Marc Zywaczewski.

As soon as Mr Zywaczewski heard that Gillian wanted a tattoo he booked an appointment at the Kamar-Taj Tattoo Temple in Melbourne as part of Lifeview’s Magic Moments Program which is designed to surprise residents with unique and personalised experiences. 

“I’m looking at the chap who’s doing the tattoo and all the [ineligble] and whirls are on his head. That must be so painful,” Gillian told 9 News

There was no head tattoo for Gillian, however, as she chose her right arm to be the canvas for an adorable hedgehog, adding that she has “always loved hedgehogs”.

However, despite joining her grandson in being inked, it appears the rest of the family is not necessarily on board with Gillian replying “not much” when asked by the reporter about their thoughts.

As for Lifeview, even their CEO, Samantha Jewell, was on site for the experience and she shared her enthusiasm at helping tick off a wishlist item for Gillian.

“Aged care doesn’t mean it’s the end of your life. It’s a chance for you to do things that you have never been able to do,” said Ms Jewell. 

Gillian’s tattoo experience is by no means an isolated one as a 94-year-old American woman also inked-up for the first time, although Gillian may be the oldest person in Australia to get their first tattoo. 

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