Eda is a Holdsworth participant who has been receiving support through the Commonwealth Home Support Program for several years. Recently she participated in the Wellness Hub - a free program run by Holdsworth to support older people through allied health and clinical support services, and additional help at home. Through Wellness Hub Eda was connected with a volunteer who helped bring her balcony garden back to life after a stressful situation, allowing her to feel content in her home again.

Picture sweeping vines of bright bougainvillea. Chinese jasmine climbing steadily up decorative iron trellises. Delightful red mandevilla flowers. A huge potted gardenia. And in the middle of it, the most vibrant flower of all: 95 year old Eda.

A woman with a lifetime of stories to tell, and an effervescence that promises many more to come, Eda has made an impact on so many people she’s crossed paths with over the years as a social worker, a wife and a mother.

Eda’s balcony garden brings her great joy, but more than that, it makes her grateful.

After some challenges with the repair of her apartment’s balcony, which Eda refers to as “a saga”, it was only natural to turn to people she trusted to help her bring her balcony garden to life and make it feel like home again. So she spoke to Holdsworth.

Eda’s experience with Holdsworth started many years ago, when her late husband’s health started deteriorating and they needed transport. Later in life, Eda participated in regular shopping bus trips with Holdsworth until, in her words “Covid mucked up everything”. Once the world opened up again, Eda “got a bit older and not as strong” so she was connected to the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) through Holdsworth. Over the past two years, this has provided Eda with weekly individual social support where she is taken shopping or to run errands or simply have some extra company. 

When she spoke with Holdsworth Community Care Officer Charlie after the stress of the balcony works, she was referred to the Wellness Hub for extra support. Holdsworth’s Wellness Hub is a free service offered in partnership with Woollahra Council to support people while they wait for more formal support from the government, like a Home Care package, with tailored services to meet individual participant needs.

Through the Wellness Hub, Eda was connected with a Holdsworth volunteer, who alongside Eda’s support worker, helped her plan, design and create her balcony oasis, with trips to Bunnings and some hands-on digging and potting.

“Eda’s gardening project demonstrated that a little extra help from the Wellness Hub can make an impact. All of our team is so proud,” says Community Care Officer Charlie.

For an older person living alone in the community, this outreach and personalised support has meant the world. And in her true-to-form generous style, Eda had everyone who helped her around for a morning tea to show her appreciation.

“I wanted to thank the people who’ve been so good to me restoring my balcony garden. I’m putting all the unpleasantness behind me, and now I’ve got the strength to entertain these lovely people who helped me,” she says.

Eda is a shining example that you can bloom at any age. From starting university at the age of 47 and going on to have a successful career after graduating, to finding her feet after her husband of 68 years passed, she is an example of a person who with just a little help and community, can shine bright no matter which birthday is approaching.

“I just find she’s quite inspirational. Living life to the fullest. And after the drama of the strata, it was lovely to get the plants on the balcony and make her feel a lot more comfortable,” said Support Worker Tanya.

“I think Holdsworth is incredible. Holdsworth has always been there for me,” says Eda.

Are you looking for free support and advice to keep you living independently at home? If you’re living in the Woollahra area, Wellness Hub is a great place to start. Or contact Holdsworth to find out how we can support you live life to the fullest, just like Eda.

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