July 3, 2024

Still making precious memories at 104 years young

There’s nothing quite like embracing shared experiences to help build a strong community spirit, and at Dianella Village Aged Care Hostel, Kilmore, that’s exactly what they do. Many of the residents have grown up in the area having spent a lifetime living and working on the land, watching as the world around them changes and grows. This is, no doubt, exemplified best in Elizabeth Soraghan, Betty to her friends, who celebrated her 104th birthday in May surrounded by friends, family and staff.

Betty’s life story was recently featured in Northern Health’s podcast, Visiting Hours, where she and her daughter, Anne Hibberd, recalled what life was like in simpler times. Where people didn’t bat an eyelid at you riding your pony to school with no saddle or bridle, where you knew your neighbours had your back and the local Saturday night dance was an opportunity to see and be seen after a hard week of work. Well, perhaps some things never change.

The staff at Dianella Hostel, always keen to create engaging activities for the 30 or so residents, thought organizing a listening party for Betty’s episode was a grand idea, and that’s just what it proved to be.

As the sun streamed through the large, lounge windows, and residents settled in with a cup of tea and a bickie or two, Kathryn Gardner from the Dianella Leisure and Lifestyle team, introduced the podcast along with, Visiting Hours host, Steve Carnell.

“The podcast is a wonderful way to help celebrate Betty’s 104th birthday and her extraordinary life,” Ms. Gardner later commented.  “Sharing this occasion with her fellow consumers at Dianella Hostel brings happiness and joy to all involved, especially Betty and her family.”

Mr Carnell shared with the residents that the episode had done really well.  “Betty’s voice, and her story, not to mention the care she receives here, has been heard all over the world through the podcast’s international listenership,” he added.

As the episode concluded, the room was filled with polite applause, the odd interjection of ‘Well done” and a warm feeling that was surely something more than the sun’s morning rays, which still peeked through the glass.

Ms Hibberd expressed her gratitude by saying, “Mum has felt extra special with all the attention, and having the podcast and the promotional material associated with it is a wonderful keepsake for our family.”

Betty, a little overwhelmed at being referred to as a super-star, was grateful too, as she humbly thanked staff and everyone for coming to listen to her.

You can listen to Betty too, or any of the Visiting Hours episodes, wherever you get good podcasts or by clicking on the link. HERE

Pictured in feature image – Betty and her daughter Anne with residents at the listening party

Inset image – Recording ‘Visiting Hours’ in the hair salon at Dianella Hostel, Kilmore