Sue Folkman and Ross Palmer have been friends for decades – and now they have celebrated a special milestone together.
Sue and Ross both moved into Carinity Wishart Gardens on the same day 25 years ago this month. They were amongst Carinity Wishart Gardens’ first residents, moving into the Brisbane aged care community when it opened in 1997.
Born with impaired vision before developing serious eye deterioration issues, Sue moved into aged care following the closure of the Helen Huxham Hostel for the Blind, at which she lived.
“When I was in my 40s, I had a stroke. It affected my right arm and I had other health problems which prevented me from living in my home. It was very strange moving into a blind hostel,” Sue said.
“When the hostel was closing a couple of people from Carinity came over and they said, ‘Look, we’ve heard about your plight. We’re building a place at Wishart, and we were wondering if you might like to come over there and live’.
“We came here on and off to see construction progressing and the rooms we were going to have. We were all very excited. Our rooms at the hostel were very, very tiny so to come into a place like Wishart was great.”
Sue recalls she was one of a dozen people from the hostel who moved to Wishart Gardens, with many initially living in the Amity wing. Despite being 49 at the time, Sue felt comfortable moving into a seniors’ home.
“I didn’t really feel out of place; I felt at home and I fitted in alright. Nobody said, ‘What are you doing here? You’re too young’,” she said.
“The people here are all nice and I find the staff to be very good. Donna Watson who is the CNC (Clinical Nurse Consultant) has been here nearly as long as me. She’s a wonderful person and she’s excellent at her job.
“Two of the girls who work up in Tamborine wing where I live, we’re very, very, very lucky that we’ve got them. They are absolutely brilliant and they’re part of our family.”
Now 75, Sue enjoys welcoming new residents and listening to country music with friends – she once enjoyed an in-house concert by Australia’s Got Talent finalist Jonny Taylor at Carinity Cedarbrook.
“I’ve lost a lot of friends over the years, people I’ve got to know well, but you always make new friends.”