Welcome to our stories. We hope to bring you many tales, tips and anecdotes from our clients who have lived interesting and long lives and from our staff who are passionate about what they do.

It is possible to continue living at home on your own terms and continue to live your life your way. We hope you enjoy these amazing stories.

The story our hands tell: Betty

The story our hands tell: Jeffery

The story our hands tell: June and Rupert

Nicolette Quekett, age 97, level 4 home care package

Hailing from Eastern Cape South Africa and now living in Fremantle, vivacious and well-travelled Nicolette has a lust for life and everything in it.

Born in 1919 in South Africa, Nicolette ran a riding school for 2 years after university as she was unsure of what career to pursue. Nicolette later enlisted in the South African Women’s Auxiliary Air Force at the outbreak of WWII and was posted to Kenya, without home leave. During this time, she explored Central Africa, Uganda, Rwanda, and The Congo; visiting a Pygmy village in Ituri Forest, the Volcanoes of Goma, Lake Kivu, gorilla sanctuaries, and Lake Victoria.

After service in the WAAF, Nicolette joined British Airways where she met her husband Bill. They spent the next 25 years in the Middle East, South East Asia, Baghdad, Cairo, Tripoli, Bombay, Alexandria, Calcutta, Aden, Beirut, and Bangkok.

In 1955 whilst living in Aden she went to Cape Town University for 1 year to complete a Graduate diploma in Education, taking her 2 small children with her.  This sparked a passion for teaching with the highlight being her time as Principal at the British school in Bangkok.

In 1970 Nicolette and her family settled in Australia, before Bill sadly passed away six years later.

In 1985 Nicolette was told she had to retire, but with plenty of fire still in her belly she volunteered to teach English in China for 3 years and had to become an honorary Chinese Citizen to a very poor area where foreigners were prohibited. This marked the beginning of another passion, as Nicolette is now a published author of four books. Letters from China, first published in 1999, documents her time as an English teacher in China where she taught 300 students. Her second book, Columbines for Harold, tells the story of her and her father’s life. Published in 2008, it took five years to write but 60 years to research. Letters to Alice is a compilation of 300 letters from her and her 3 brothers to their mother while they were stationed in the war. The original letters are held at The Imperial War Museum in London. Book number four is a children’s book published in 2015 called “Jimmy the Fremantle Cat”. Nicolette is currently halfway through writing her fifth book – Short Stories from Around the World.

Nicolette has been a St Ives Home Care client since 2009, starting on the HACC program, progressing to a Level 2 home care package. Today, through her Level 4 home care package with St Ives Home Care, Nicolette benefits from social and some domestic support to maintain independence and remains active within her community. Nicolette leads a busy life, still writing and giving talks but likes to walk at Port Beach in the early morning whenever possible and enjoys classical concerts at Fremantle Town Hall. With her Support Workers Veronica, Shirley, Martha and Mofida, Nicolette continues to enjoy hobbies such as gardening and playing the piano, as well as a good chat over a cuppa.

Nicolette joyfully playing the piano at home with her support worker.

Maire Johnson, age 81, level 2 home care package

Maire who enjoys weekly visits from her support worker Shirley, says the regular social contact is such and important part of her week.

“I look forward to Shirley coming every Thursday, we have a great relationship.”

Maire who is still active and enjoys her busy retirement life, gets just enough help from her level 2 package with the things she is finding a little difficult to do on her own.

Her package enables her to get help with the heavy work of transport to the shops, grocery shopping and unpacking the groceries. She also gets help with the more physically difficult housework that arthritis makes it harder for her to do herself including things like vacuuming, mopping and dusting.

“For me, it is really important to be clean and comfortable, so the cleaning services are just so in-valuable.”

For those wondering if they could use a little help at home, Maire says it doesn’t mean you have to give up your independence, actually quite the opposite.

“It is difficult at first, I needed help when I came out of hospital, but didn’t want to accept it. But I couldn’t enjoy my own standard of living without my home care package and I think people should have a look at what they might be eligible for.”

“I really couldn’t keep living at home now without the home care package, it allows me to keep enjoying living in my unit and my lifestyle”.

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Vera, age 107, level 4 home care package and ‘still the life of the party’

A fiery personality, a love for all things sweet, strong coffee, Tia Maria, and a self-described party girl, Latvian-born 107 Vera Liepa has thrown out the rule book on how to live a long life.

Vera is St Ives Home Care’s oldest client living in her home.

Vera’s daughter Rasma described her Mum as the life of every party, who loves good company.

“She plays the piano accordion, has a lovely singing voice. She loves dancing and singing and especially the Tango. She’s a flirt and a party animal. She always made her own clothes which were very glamorous.” Rasma said.

“Drink, think, dance and then you get a good husband.” Vera said.

Immigrating with her 2 children and husband in 1949 post-war, the family begun their Australian life in a migrant camp.

Though the family lived in the camp for only a month, camp living made quite an early impression. Vera who speaks over 6 languages, began learning English there.

“She learnt her first English word ‘buggar’”, Rasma explained. “She kept using it everywhere until someone explained it was a swear word.”

As well being committed to having a little fun, Vera who was still working well into her 80s, said working hard has also been an important part of life.

“I still work. I am still cooking and mopping and washing. I am a good cook. I use my muscles and have lots of energy. When you are not working, you are good for nothing, a beautiful job makes you happy.”

Vera has lived in the family home in Redcliffe that her family hand-built in the 1950s and is passionate about remaining at home.

She and her family get assistance on a St Ives Home Care package. Vera’s support staff visit daily to assist with the more physical tasks around the home, as well as shopping and cooking meals.

Rasma, who travels 2 to 3 times weekly from Mandurah to assist her Mum, says without the extra help from a home care package, caring for her Mum would be incredibly difficult.

“Mum enjoys the company but she needs regular help. She gets someone to help her get ready in the morning and at night again, every day. Between our family and her home care team we want to make sure she is happy and can stay at home.”

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Bob, age 93, Transition Care Services (TCS)

Busselton WA resident Robert (Bob) Evans, 93, had never received in-home care before qualifying for the St Ives Home Care Transition Care Services program, but his experience means he and his daughter Annie Evans-Pascoe are considering more permanent support under a home care package.

TCS helped Bob return home and recover the independence he was used to after a recent episode resulted in him having to be admitted to hospital

“The girls (St Ives Home Care Transition Care staff) are very helpful and sociable,” Bob said. “My daughter Annie told me and the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) suggested it also that this program would be the best option after my hospital stay.”

People on the highly successful Transition Care Services program often see a full recovery in a short time frame.

Bob has been associated with Busselton since 1939, travelling there for several years from his family’s Wheatbelt farm. In 1975 his family built a beach house there and they moved down permanently in 1991.

Mr Evans’ TCS package is due to finish in October. “If I am strong enough to stay home, I would like to continue with a home care package.”

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