The art of caring for Nanango’s living treasure

Enjoying life from the comfort of your own home is important to many people as they age. But for Eileen, who celebrated her 100th birthday last month, it means everything.

Eileen has lived her whole life on the Nanango farm she took over when her father died. Her stories and memories go back to riding into town on a horse and sulky.

“Eileen is one of Nanango’s living treasures,” says Centacare Service Delivery Manager, Kym, who has supported Eileen for almost 10 years. “Her grandfather was amongst the town’s early European settlers and the first student to enrol at Nanango State School.”

With Centacare by her side, Eileen continues to live her life in the way that she chooses, from the only home she’s ever known. It’s a partnership that involves Eileen tending to her cows and Centacare tending to her home.

Kym recalls some of the challenges involved in cleaning Eileen’s home.

“Eileen’s home is a beautiful, old style farm house,” said Kym. “Much of the furniture and décor is antique and calf skin rugs adorn the floors. She is very particular about the way things are kept and looked after. I remember her wanting me to shake the rugs out over the balcony but they were just too heavy. We devised a system of flipping and vacuuming them in stages, which allowed us to get the same result, without having to shift them.

“It’s hard work – an art almost – but what’s important to our clients is important to us.

“Care is about being respectful of, and responsive to, a person’s needs and preferences. We saw Eileen’s rugs, although beautiful, as tripping hazards. But we know how much they mean to Eileen so we look after them (and her) as best we can.”

Eileen was still tending to her cattle up until two years ago, when she was injured by a blind calf. “I nose-dived into the paddock,” she said. “I’ve fallen plenty of times, but I’ve never nose-dived like that before.

Knowing how important social connection was to Eileen, Kym organised additional funding to allow plenty of time for catching up amid the cleaning.

“I feel blessed to care for Eileen,” said Kym. “She is an exceptional lady who has seen and weathered many ups and downs throughout her life. Droughts, fires and war – you name it – Eileen has lived through it.”

We asked Eileen to share her secrets of a life well lived. “I’ve never smoked or drank, I eat from the land and I’ve always worked hard,” she said.

Would you like some support at home?

Home is not only where your heart is, it’s from home that you can enjoy life and do all the things that are important to you. Talk to us about getting some support at home so you can keep enjoying your home for many years to come.