It’s 9am and Alma, one of our Home Care consumers, is at her usual haunt, Joe’s Bakery, steadily making her way through a mini sausage roll, party pie, and a large coffee. For someone who recently celebrated turning 100 on July 7, her appetite is so impressive it’s hard not to smile at her complete and obvious joy.
The café is across the road from her West Perth apartment where she has lived for over 40 years. Remarkably, Alma continues to live independently with the assistance of our Home Care team and crosses busy Hay Street by herself and without aid almost every day for her treat. The owner, Joe, has known her since 1979 and has kindly been shouting her free coffee since COVID entered our lives earlier this year.
Alma is joined by Sophie, her dear friend of 18 years –they first met at the café where Sophie worked. The two were soon sharing lunches on the park benches that line the street and have been catching up and sharing stories ever since.
“In the whole time I’ve known her, she’s never complained,” said Sophie. “Everything is always beautiful and positive.”
Born in Dumbleyung in WA’s Wheatbelt region, 267km south-east of Perth, Alma grew up on the family farm milking cows and finding mushrooms and birds eggs. It’s a childhood riddled with hilarious tales that could only hail from the early 20th century, like when her Dad brought out a pint of beer for her and her siblings to share in the back of the car while they waited for him to finish in the Dumbleyung Tavern.
“I’ve had a wonderful life, ever since I was a little girl,” Alma shares.
To this day, she still enjoys a beer, picking some up from her local bottle shop once a week and indulging in one room-temperature drink every day.
Over the years she has become well known in the area as “Miss West Perth”, no doubt impressing everyone fortunate enough to meet her. Incredibly, Alma has not seen a doctor since becoming a Home Care client with St Bart’s four years ago. She’s not on any medication, needs no prescription glasses or hearing aids, and only stopped using the stairs in her apartment building at the age of 97.
When asked how she feels turning 100, she stuns with her reply: “I feel 16!” she laughs. “It’s a very wonderful world,” she says as she turns her attention to the rustling leaves in the tree just outside the café. It’s a moment that makes us all stop to appreciate the simple things.
“She sees the beauty in everything,” says Natalie, team leader of St Bart’s Home Care. “When you meet with her, she makes you sit down outside, to listen and admire the beauty of everything around you. She really puts life into perspective.”
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