Fred and Audrey have lived a life of adventure and now Envigor is supporting them to continue to live life their way at The Lakes in Bundaberg.
Fred, who turns 90 in September, grew up on a dairy farm in South Australia and says that it was across one of those neighbouring paddocks where he first met his wife Audrey.
“I was staying with my sister and her home bordered onto Audrey’s parents dairy farm. Somehow, we met over the back fence – I don’t know who was checking up on who! We went out to a concert and from then on it was forever.”
So far, forever has seen them celebrate their 67th wedding anniversary and have countless adventures together.
“We’ve spent 67 years together – whatever I did, I always had back up from Audrey and Audrey branched out herself into the professional world as a teacher and a lecturer and various positions in the education department,” says Fred.
“I went into the building world until I was about 48 years old and I decided that I needed a break so I decided to set sail – I was always keen on water – and I sailed solo to Africa on the deal that Audrey would fly to Durban and we would sail it back to Australia and that was to be our big adventure.”
According to Fred that one trip turned into many more as they had too much fun travelling together.
“We enjoyed the life so much that we got itchy feet as soon as we got back and within a year we set off again and retraced our steps and we spent the next five years going from place to place and had a magnificent adventure.”
A new home in Bundaberg
It was returning from this trip that saw them visiting South America, the Mediterranean, Turkey and the South Pacific that led Fred and Audrey to their new home in Bundaberg.
“We were travelling back on our trip back from Panama and across the Pacific and came into Bundaberg as a port of entry for customs. We enjoyed the place and the climate was perfect so we bought some bush land, built a house and spent the next 18 years there,” says Fred.
From there, Fred and Audrey made the decision to move from their rural locale to the convenience offered by The Lakes retirement village, which they saw as an exciting new chapter.
“We realised that sooner or later we’d need the medical amenities, hospitals and the things that inner suburbia would give us so we moved in and we’ve been here at The Lakes for almost 16 years.”
It was here that Fred rekindled his love of painting, something he started all those years back on his solo sailing adventure.
“Spare moments I would see something and say, ‘I wish I could do something with that’ so I’d draw and sketch. I’m not a gifted painter, but like a lot of skills the more you do, the better you get so when we got to the village here I had more time originally so I became a member of the Art Society and had exhibitions.”
How Envigor care helps Fred and Audrey
However, as Audrey’s Parkinson’s disease worsened Fred became her full-time carer and it was getting harder to cope on his own.
Audrey then had two falls which lead to her needing a wheelchair and Fred had a fall of his own, which left him unable to help Audrey when she needed it. It was at this time that Fred met Julie McDonald, Envigor’s Community Business Partner for Bundaberg who helped Audrey and Fred with a personalised care plan that works for them.
“Audrey is on a Level 4 package and with that, we get a lass that comes every morning Monday to Friday and then I hold the fort until Monday again. She also sleeps over one night with Audrey to give me a break and I get a full day respite on Thursday. It’s very balanced and I can cope. I feel like I get the benefit as much as Audrey. It’s been working very, very well,” says Fred.
Julie says she has built a great working relationship with Fred and Audrey and has been thrilled to help them stay in their own home.
“Audrey was my very first Envigor Client and along with Fred we have forged a wonderful rapport both professionally and personally,” says Julie
“The flexibility and continuity of ongoing care that Envigor could provide enabled Audrey and Fred to maintain their independence and remain in their own home. This was very important to them both and it gives me job satisfaction being able to provide that for them.
“Audrey has really warmed to her carers and Fred has evolved from being a man that was lost not knowing where to turn for help to having stability and order in their lives.”
Fred agrees that his relationship with Julie along with Envigor’s care services has made a big difference to his and Audrey’s lives.
“We were getting very ordinary care from some of the other institutions. It’s a 100% better. It’s 24-hour availability. The problem with the previous ones were that the ladies that came to do the care were all good but they worked Monday to Friday and then knocked off. If you wanted anything you’d get a message saying, ‘ring back on Monday morning’ and it always happened that when I needed help it was the weekend,” says Fred.
“I can call Envigor day or night. Julie from Envigor is here in the village and is only 100 metres away during office hours and she’s only 15-minutes away if she has to get out of bed at night – which she has done a couple of times.”
“It’s taken the worry off me. I wasn’t quite sure where we were going to go from here – the whole black hole syndrome. Whether Julie was meant to be our fairy godmother or not, she just arrived at the right moment when I’d had a fall and broken a rib and she came over and got us up and going again and everything is wonderful!”