Ian defies the expectations of age, living independently in his own home at the impressive age of 100.
Ian stands tall and proud in the doorway of his New South Wales home. He has a sparkle in his eye and a keen sense of humour.
This centenarian has a walker for times when he needs it and rides his mobility scooter to the local shops in Ballina to buy groceries, but he is remarkably mobile and looks younger than his 100 years.
With six children, 16 grandchildren and three great grandchildren, Ian’s life is fairly busy. He recently celebrated his 100th birthday with his family and close friends, enjoying a special visit from interstate relatives.
Originally from Montmorency in Victoria, Ian moved with his family to Ballina in the 1970s, remembering how the streets seemed bare back then compared to the natural forest that now lines the perimeter of his property.
“At the time the council were giving away free trees to residents to help make the area greener so I would go down each year and pick up half a dozen plants.”
“It’s lovely now, when I look out my window to see how they have all grown and I remember how sparce it seemed when we first moved in.”
As a younger man, Ian worked for FS Walton Fabrics during World War II and remembers a battleship being built at the docks in Melbourne at the time.
Having lived through several wars and the Great Depression, Ian is no stranger to tough times but has recently been thrown another challenge – losing his old dog, and loyal companion of 18 years.
“I used to walk him every day. He was good company.” he said. “I have a photo of him close by now because I miss him dearly. I don’t want to go the same route where I used to take him because it brings back too many memories of him and it affects me too much.”
“But I still go out every day,” Ian said. “I make myself.”
“I don’t really have a secret to old age. You just have to keep on going.”
Chloe, a support worker at integratedliving Australia, enjoys visiting Ian each Tuesday to help him with some housework. As part of their weekly routine, Chloe also transports Ian to a nearby nursing home to visit his beloved wife who has been in care for the past five years.
“We’ve been married for a very long time – well over 70 years,” Ian said. “Her memory isn’t so good now, but I love going to see her.”
Whilst Chloe has assisted a 102-year-old client who resided in a nursing home, she said Ian is the oldest client she has worked with who lives independently in his own home.
“I love being able to help people,” she said. “To see them smile with anything I do for or with, them is the highlight of my day.”
“I enjoy getting to know each and every one of my clients. They all have a story to tell, and I love being an ear to listen to them too. I think it expands my knowledge in different ways.”
Sharing life experiences between generations shows the importance of the bond between support workers and their clients.
At the age of 100, the team at integratedliving wish Ian the happiest of birthdays and look forward to hearing many more of his inspiring life stories.
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