When Doris Angus went into residential care just over a year ago, the last thing she thought would happen is that one of her younger relatives would join her there.
At 103, Doris now finds herself providing companionship to her daughter-in-law, Eileen Angus (75) after Eileen had a number of debilitating strokes and a long hospital stay before she recently moved in and joined her mother-in-law at Baptistcare’s Moonya residential aged care in Manjimup.
The pair catch up daily and are popular members of the Moonya community.
Born in 1915 in London, the deadly consequences of World War 1 had a significant effect on the course of her life. Doris’ father was killed in the conflict and her mother re-married and then set sail with her two young daughters to follow her second husband to Australia.
For 9-year-old Doris, her life on a remote farm in Western Australia’s south west was very different to her old life in London.
“We walked two miles to school in the morning and another two miles back in the afternoon,” she said.
Doris grew up on the farm with her sister and a new brother, helping out with all the chores including riding her horse into town to do the shopping accompanied by her friend, Mary Omodei.
She married farmer, Frank Angus at just 17 and they lived on their dairy farm and apple orchard near Manjimup raising their three boys and two girls.
“I milked the cows, picked the apples and shot the parrots trying to get at the apples,” Doris recalls.
Sadly, Frank passed away 30 years ago at the age of 83 and Doris stayed on the farm with her sons for some years until the farm was sold and she moved into town.
Doris is now a proud great, great great-grandmother who loves to see her family as often as she can.
Her daughter, Rita Pittendreigh (80) visits Baptistcare Moonya daily and believes her mother’s good health might have something to do with her tough up-bringing in the outdoors working hard on the farm, gardening and doing all the housework.
“Mum has hardly ever been sick or had any significant health issues. She has always watched her weight and if she had a complaint about being here, it would be that they give her too much to eat at mealtimes.”
“She worries that the extra food might go to waste which is something that her early life in war-torn London and then on the farm taught her.”
“Mum only started using a mobility walker at 102 but other than that she has been very fit and healthy.”
“We are very blessed to still have her. She has outlived my three brothers, including Eileen’s husband, Bert, and I can only hope I have inherited her good genes,” she said.
Rita is delighted that her mother is happy and she says that’s because the staff are so caring and do a great job keeping her busy and motivated.
Doris moved into residential care a year ago and adapted to what she refers to as her “new home” quickly.
Suzette Starling, Baptistcare Moonya’s Lifestyle Coordinator said, “Doris is a pleasure to look after, she has a great sense of humour and a positive outlook on life.”
“She enjoys the companionship of her daughter-in-law, Eileen and a few old neighbours who are also here,” she said.
However, what makes Doris’ “new home” extra special is that her childhood riding companion, Mary Omodei, now 93, is also a resident.
The lifelong friends enjoy the exercise classes, walks, bingo, bowls and talking about their younger days.
Baptistcare’s programs are designed to keep people like Doris and Eileen Angus motivated, interested in life and connected to their families and communities.
For more information about Residential Care, please follow the link below or
contact us on 1300 660 640.