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60 Second Seniors

To celebrate Queensland Seniors Month, Wesley Mission Queensland is sharing the stories of a diverse group of seniors showing that life doesn’t stop at 60!

60 Second Seniors is a heartwarming and inspiring look at what you can continue to achieve with a positive spirit, a good sense of humour and strong connections to family and the wider community.

Watch below our 60 seconds video stories.

Athol, one of the residents featured in our 60 seconds videos stories for Seniors Month

Robert, 79 - The Las Vegas hypnotist

Bray Park, Anam Cara Aged Care Community

Now you see it, now you don’t. Robert started off life as a hypnotist until a patient set him off on a magical new path.

Hi. I'm Rob. I'm 79 years old. I started out as a therapist and I became a hypnotist. One day a fellow walks in and he says to me, can you teach me to be a hypnotist? And I said, what do you do for a living? And he said, I'm a magician. And I said, I've always wanted to do magic.

I've always wanted to be a magician, so we traded. And one day I met a fellow and he lived in Las Vegas and he said, you should have a show in Las Vegas, and I said, well, I never even thought about it. He says, well, I know of a small casino, and I think I could get you in there, at least for a few weekends.

So I had the show there for about five years, and it was a small casino sat about 50 people, but it sold out every night. And I would sit them in a chair and I would tell their elephant, you know, their unconscious mind that they can't get out of the chair and they couldn't get out of the chair and it's funny to watch them because, you know, they're like. I would take $100 notes out of my pocket, out of my wallet, and I'd say, they're yours, just take them.

Well, of course, they couldn't get out of the chair. They were oh, they were sweating and laughing. And then they started laughing and of course, the audience is laughing because they're thinking now, if I were there, I would get out of that chair and take that money. But they wouldn't. Because once your unconscious mind believes something is true, it's true for you.

Marjorie, 93 | Knitting every stitch with love

Morningside, Balmoral Uniting Community Centre client

A tale of teddy bears, travel and connecting young with old.

My children were involved in ballroom dancing and I did all the costumes. And when I retired from sewing, I wanted to do something worthwhile. So I started having students from overseas that went to Shafston University. I started doing little bears for them, so they took them home.

So my bears are all over the world. The first one I knitted, the little girl cried. She was a little Japanese student and she got very emotional that someone could do something for her. I just wanted to knit something with love, that she could cuddle at night and not miss her family so much.

And then it went on from there. Every student that came wanted a bear. Over 20 years I’ve knitted thousands of bears all over the world. I wanted to show them the hospitality that true Australians share.

It's the gift that you can give and something that you've done for someone that you know, that they're going to have pleasure from. I had a Swiss student for 12 months and as he was leaving, he asked me, could he have a barbecue for 20 people? And I said, Of course you can.

They were coming in taxis and all sorts of things and ended up there was about 80 students in my backyard, round my pool and they came up and got me and were singing Marjorie, Marjorie, and my next door neighbor the next morning said, Marjorie, you must have had a lovely birthday party last night.

And I didn't like to say how many different students from different countries. And one student from Korea said a prayer. A special prayer.

Dorothy, 82 | Queen of the golf course

Brendale

A special connection to a world champion is just one of the things Dorothy loves about the golf course.

My name's Dorothy, and I've just had a lovely morning this morning, I played nine holes of golf with some friends and now for the last hour, I've just had a lesson learning how to play golf balls out of the bunker, which is quite tricky to do when you're a golfer, unless you're good. We've known Cam since he was a little boy.

When he was younger, we did play golf with him sometimes and then he sort of became quite a good friend, yeah. I used to make biscuits for him, ginger biscuits. One time Cam, was when he'd grown up, probably a few years ago, he came past our place and I saw him, so I went down and I said, oh Cam, I haven't got any biscuits for you.

Don't worry Dot he said, I just came to see you and I was so stoked that he said that it was just something I'll never forget. Even on a bad day you have a few laughs and a few giggles about bad golf scores. But, oh, I hope I can play golf a very long time because it's so much fun.

Trevor, 75 | The furry companions

Albany Creek, volunteers at Parkview Aged Care

Trevor and his giant schnauzers have been putting smiles on people’s faces from Cambodia to Chermside.

My name's Trevor Shelley. I'm 75, and I'm semi-retired. I began bringing the dogs to the aged care centers about two and a half years ago. I'd returned from Cambodia, where I was looking after a doggy day care and a lot of other things. I have two dogs, two Giant Schnauzers which are, their jet black? The younger dog is only one year old.

Her name is Talisker. Everybody knows is a Scotch Whiskey and the big dog, his name is Nikka, named after that beautiful Japanese Whiskey. And I did not name them my wife was responsible. When we come through the ward, there are a whole range of reactions. The eyes and the face absolutely light up and the bedridden patients, especially because they're tall enough just to put their head on the bed and be patted.

I intend to keep on doing it indefinitely. First of all, I enjoy it and I look forward to it in that I've made some friends and I really enjoy the interaction between the dogs and the people who are living here. Just generally the reaction is fantastic.

Athol, 90 | 309 kilometres of purpose at 90 years old

Pullenvale, volunteers at Hummingbird House

Conquering Kokoda at 87 and a 300km walk at 90 – what will Athol do next?

Hello folk. My name is Athol, and I just want to share a wonderful adventure that I've just completed with some good friends and that was to walk 309 kilometers for Hummingbird House to raise funds for the children. The walk was 13 days all together and at Blackbutt we had one day off. Everyday was a new adventure. We started with the tough stuff first, so 30 or 30 kilometers plus for the day.

But that was good, we were fresh and so we did it, no trouble. It wasn't just a walk. It was an exciting adventure because we were doing it with a purpose. When we reached the finish line, it was pretty exciting, the support people gave. It's unreal. It's wonderful, really. We did eventually raise $25,000 plus for the work of Hummingbird House, and that was so pleasing.

We walked to the starting point and there was a big sign on the gate to the rail trail. RAIL TRAIL CLOSED and so we just opened the gate and went in and started. We weren't about to turn back.

Eilene, 98 | The wartime faceplant

Bray Park, Anam Cara Aged Care Community

When tardiness trips you up – and saves your life!

My name is Eileen Souter and I joined the women's army during the war. Oh, well, I enjoyed it altogether I did clerical work, which was all I did that time. You got up early in the morning and you got dressed in your uniform and went and lined up to march to work. I wasn't interested in getting promoted. I wasn't worried about that.

I just enjoyed being with the other girls. I was running like, should I say? Which was the usual thing with me. I was seldom on time. The sirens went and I started running but I fell flat on my face. And afterwards, the girls said we’re so glad you remembered, we wouldn't have fallen, we'd have kept running. That was the thing to do.

Throw yourself flat on your face but I turned to run, and they thought that was a huge joke, I hadn't deliberately thrown myself on the face. I was turning to run, and that's what happened. But it worked well. None of us got hurt, we seemed to be always laughing.

Jack, late 60s | From the boardroom to community transport

Strathpine, volunteers at Community Transport Services

A simple smile can be just as rewarding as a life in the corporate world.

Well after having spent very close to 50 years in the corporate world. I thought, well, I've got to start doing something. So I looked at volunteering. I've been doing it now close to four years, and it's probably been the most four rewarding years of my whole working life. There's a very special lady that I've built a great rapport with who has gone through cancer treatment.

And I'm pleased to say she survived and a lot of the time, I was the only person she had to talk to, and I was the only one there to really help her through. So many people in our community are on their own. I maybe the only person they get to see in one or two weeks and when they see you, when you’ve travelled with them before, their faces just light up.

The gratification you get from their smile, you can't ask for anything better than that. I can't see me stopping this until the day that the doctors decide that I can't drive anymore.

Lisa, 70s | You can’t keep a strong woman down

Morningside, Balmoral Uniting Community Centre client

From a wheelchair to rock climbing and music festivals – you can’t keep a good woman down!

Hi. I'm Lisa. I'm 70 years old. I came to Australia in wheelchair. I couldn't walk, couldn't swallow, I had tremors all over from Parkinson's disease. My daughter said, Mum, we got to get you out of that wheelchair. So she bought me a walker. First it was just to the bathroom and back then around the room. Step by step, persist and you will succeed.

No more tremors. I can walk. I jog, I dance like crazy. Ok, the rock climbing, I love it. The ukulele. I do at Wesley Mission. I've always lived my best life but yeah, I love it now. Yeah, I've got good friends. Yeah. Everything good. I love music festivals. I volunteer six days a week. I go to the gym twice a week.

Yeah. Do something new. Try something different. Explore!

Paul, 78 | The 66 year old harmonica

Sinnamon Park, Rosemount Retirement Community

A parting gift from his mother as a young boy has taken Paul on 66-year musical adventure.

G’day. My name's Paul, and I've been carrying a harmonica in my pocket for 66 years. Well, I was a victim of a major flood over the River Murray in 1956. Every child in the town was put on a bus and sent off to stay with an auntie or an uncle or a friend in Adelaide.

And as I got on the bus with my sisters and my brothers, my mother came up to me, gave me a big hug and gave me this harmonica. I used to go to my bed at night, get under the blankets and play music to cover up my tears. We were in Penzance, in Cornwall, at a concert put on by the Marazion Male Voice Choir.

So they invited this pianist up to this grand piano, and she started playing a few notes, but the foot pedal jammed and she said, I can't play a thing. So I stood up, brang the harmonica out of my pocket, and I played a little bit of Bach.

The crowd were roaring with applause. They stood up and they called me up on the stage. There is only one disadvantage. I can't sing and play harmonica at the same time.

Jenny, 79 | Dancing the night away for charity

Chermside, Wheller on the Park Retirement Village

Helping people has always been a part of who Jenny is and now in later life she is helping to bring her community together in the name of charity.

Good morning. I'm Jenny Godwin. I'm 79 years of age and I live here at Wheller on the Park. I love people and I love helping people. And I absolutely love helping charities. And I do a supper dance every three months and have been doing this for eight years.

The format of the event is you come and you have about a table of eight, some people want ten and I have about ten tables. There's just so much love in the room. There really is and everyone goes home on a high wanting to come back to the next one. Another thing that I love is seeing people come and what a beautiful connection they have with everybody, their friends, because they are asking their friends as well.

And then the friends at the next table and the next table and then everybody gets up to dance. When my mother died and I said to myself, every day, I want to do one thing for someone. I want to go to bed at night and know that I've done one thing for somebody, that I can go to bed at night and think, Well, you've done a good deed today, but I'd just like to think that my mother and father would be proud of me whenever we meet again.

And if I can make someone happy, that's what I want to do.

Olive | Taking a leap of faith

Thorneside, staff member in WMQ’s mental health program

It’s never too late to make a change and live the life you want.

My name is Olive. I'm a mental health clinician. I had a career as a mental health clinical nurse with a forensic team. I was starting to feel like it was a stressful sort of job. So at the age of 64 and almost 65, I resigned from this major organisation. In the middle of long service leave, I started to panic.

I'm thinking, What am I going to do? Who's going to hire me at my age? And as time went on, I realised I had enormous skills. You know, I wasn't. I was forgetting how skilled I was. I suppose when you're 23, 24 or even 30, interviewing someone with my sort of skills, I don't really think they know how skilled a 60 year old might be.

And then I finally got this job and I'm very happy and I'm really enjoying it. So here I am, working as a counselor and a mental health clinician. One of the first things that will drag them down is the age factor. “I’m too old”, I've heard it. Whereas the skill that we have, is second to none. Don't think that you're not good enough or most particularly, that you have to be young.

Dr Yvonne Burns AO | Passing knowledge to the next generation

The Gap, Wesley Mission Queensland Council

As a physiotherapist, Yvonne has dedicated her life to helping others, with mobility and assisting them to live their best lives.

My name is Yvonne or physiotherapist. I still have the enjoyment of being able to do a lot of the things that I did in my younger years. I still have the opportunity to meet up with physiotherapy students in their final year. They love me telling the stories of the way in which our profession has grown and the differences and the experiences I’ve had over the years.

When I first graduated and there was polio and I had always loved working with children and I was working with children with different limitations of movement, really, because that's what polio was. You don't expect reward. The reward is in your in your life, in in the joy and and an ability to enable people to enjoy their lives.

Ageing well services

Wesley Mission Queensland's retirement and aged care services are all about helping you continue to live a life of meaning and purpose. Retirement living, residential aged care, home care, allied health, metal health and respite are some of the services we offer.  

More news and stories

Read the latest news on Wesley Mission Queensland, our clients and our community.

A safe space for all

News

Wesley Mission Queensland has helped launch the Brisbane North Safe Space Network initiative in Redcliffe this week to offer an alternative form of support for people experiencing distress and vulnerability.

Sep 21, 2022

Tags: Mental Health

Safe Space Network coordinators and supporter standing together during the launch event

Aged Care Employee Day - it's all because of you

News

Aged Care Employee Day, is a time each year to recognise and celebrate those who care for our ageing family and friends.

Aug 9, 2022

Tags: Residential Aged Care

Aged care worker laughing as she dances with a WMQ resident

90 years old, 13 days, 300kms and $21,000 raised - Athol you're a star!

News

After 13 days and 300 kilometres, 90-year-old Hummingbird House volunteer and fundraiser Athol Alcorn walked over the finish line last Sunday, to the delight of his crowd of supporters.

Jul 6, 2022

Tags: Fundraising, Palliative and Hospice Care, Volunteering

Group of people who have been hiking

You've got a friend in me

News

Friendships play an important role at all stages of life and studies have found them to be critical for a healthy aging process. It has even been suggested that social contact is more beneficial than physical exercise and healthy habits (not smoking, weight management) for health and longevity.

Jun 16, 2022

Tags: Residential Aged Care

Two elderly ladies smiling. One is in a red jacket holding a book she is reading to the other in a purple cardigan with a crochet blanket over her

WMQ retirement offering grows as buyers seek space

News

WMQ is about to expand its retirement living offering with building work set to begin on Stage Two of Rosemount Retirement Village at Sinnamon Park.

May 3, 2022

Tags: Retirement

Artists impression of a building with bushes around

For Morse code Mavis, war memories never fade

News

At 96 years of age, St Mark's resident Mavis Obst may have lost the touch for her Morse code training, but her memories haven’t faded.

Apr 24, 2022

Tags: Residential Aged Care

Elderly woman sitting on a park bench holding framed war memorabilia
More stories on our News page
QLD Seniors Month 2022

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