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A holiday to the coast earlier this year is proof that living in aged care doesn’t mean you can’t still experience life’s special moments.
95-year-old Hopetoun aged care resident Thelma whom despite being wheelchair-bound, was able to enjoy a splash in the sea on a holiday organised by dedicated Rural Northwest Health staff.
Thelma put her feet in the water at Torquay with the help of staff who helped her down to the water’s edge. She said she enjoyed the opportunity and loved experiencing the sounds and smells of the sea once more.

A convoy of two buses and a car shuttled a group of Hopetoun campus residents and one resident from Warracknabeal’s Yarriambiack Lodge campus on the five-hour trip to a luxury beach house in Ocean Grove. They were accompanied by seven RNH staff members who volunteered their time to ensure the residents were able to make the most of their seaside experience.

The holiday included a visit to Jirrahlinga Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary at Barwon Heads which boasted a wonderful array of native animals including seals, snakes, dingoes and threatened species such as the hooded plover.
Four residents also visited Portalington company Perfect Again which is a manufacturer producing breast forms. The business was established by cancer survivor Julie Brand who used to be a regular visitor to Hopetoun where she took leadlighting classes.

Organiser and RNH activities coordinator Marilyn Clancy said the trip included walks to a shopping centre, restaurant meals and even a trip to the pokies.

“We went out for Chinese tea one evening and that was great but the highlight for everyone was to simply to sit at the windows sipping on a cup of tea, watching the waves roll in and the ships sail by,” Mrs Clancy said.
“It was just a beautiful place to be and the residents loved it,” she said.
“The smiles on their faces were like magic to the staff. It was hard work at times but so rewarding to us all.
“When we got back they were already asking us about what the next trip might be.”

Beulah resident Betty Turnbull was invited along to escort her husband Allan who is a resident at Hopetoun.
Mrs Turnbull said she never thought she would be able to holiday with her husband again.
“It was just a wonderful holiday and I wondered what jobs the staff might have for me but they didn’t want me to do anything,” Mrs Turnbull said.
“They just wanted me to enjoy the trip with Allan,” she said.
“There was plenty to do but we had enough free time as well.
“The staff were just amazing. Nothing was too much trouble for them.”

Hopetoun campus manager Natalie Ladner said the trips were a wonderful opportunity for the residents but a lot of dedication made them happen.
“We are very fortunate to have such caring staff willing to devote their time to these projects,” Ms Ladner said.

“Last year they took the residents to Swan Hill and they had a ball so it’s just great that they provide this opportunity and that it is supported by RNH management,” she said.
“It’s amazing to think what has been achieved.”

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