Residents Find Joy at Woodport

December 6, 2021

Sylvia lived locally before moving to The Salvation Army’s Woodport Aged Care Centre. Ironically, she says, she visited the Centre twenty years ago as an Area Manager working with people with intellectual disabilities. Her role involved acting as a liaison between the Department of Child Services and families to find suitable community homes for people aged in their 30’s and 40’s. “It was very emotional, but I was very lucky,” Sylvia says of her work and the job that brought her to the Sydney’s Central Coast. 

She credits the proximity of her previous home to her new one at Woodport as one of the reasons why she has settled in to the Centre. She also credits Bill, who she met at Woodport, as to why she feels at home there too. “We've got a lot in common,” Sylvia explains of her good friend who lost his partner, as Sylvia did, after moving to Woodport.  “We know that feeling. You've come in here with one and you end up a half-a-one.”

Bill spent his younger years running a courier business with operations across Sydney whilst his wife worked in the sales department of a paper importing company. He remembers staying up until midnight with her making swatches composed of various grades of paper, or samples, for the trade. “She'd ring me up and say, ‘don't plan anything tonight, we're doing work for the boss.’ She’s gone now but she still lives on.”

Sylvia believes that you have to keep going in life, and that those who leave us are with us all the time. She and Bill often talk about their partners with one another and the success of their marriages. “It's good, because we're really good mates,” she says of her relationship with Bill. She always tries to find the positive side in life, not the negatives. “If you tend to think on the negative side, and you're looking for negatives, you're going to find it.”

Sylvia and Bill also credit Woodport’s staff members for their positive experiences at the Centre. According to Sylvia, the Lifestyle Coordinators go out of their way for the residents. “There's nothing they won't do for us.” As Sylvia talks, she changes the battery on the machine that supplies her with oxygen. “The lungs weren’t working well enough so, the old heart – they fight, and I have to say, ‘come on, boys! They’re at each other all the time.”

She often spends time in the Centre’s gardens with all the “old dears” where the conversations from the night before are continued. “It keeps us pretty grounded,” she explains before describing the garden which is “beautiful” with its picnic huts where Woodport’s residents sit. “I think the big thing is the people, you know; being able to liaise with people and find out that we're all very similar. Put it this way: we're all in God's waiting room. So, it's just a case of having a ball while we're here.”

Since contributing to this article, Sylvia passed away and so it is shared in her memory.

A view from the co-located retirement village