The greatest of the 'greats'
Gillian Brown has always been in awe of her 100-year-old aunty, Joan.
In the 40s, Joan Pascoe or “Joanie” to her friends was a career woman who smashed through glass ceilings as a successful accountant.
“She wasn’t cut from the mould in her time,” says Gillian. “She has always done things differently.”
“Aunty Joanie travelled the world working, which just wasn’t done in her day,” says Gillian.
That didn’t change as she grew older: “She doesn’t see age as a barrier for her.”
“When she was 90 there were these bikies in town and she said to one of them, ‘I’ve never been on a Harley Davidson and I’ve always wanted to go on one.’ And they gave her a lift on the back,’” says Gillian.
Joan now suffers from Alzheimer’s and has recently moved into an aged care home, but she hasn’t lost her zest for life.
“Every day at 5pm it’s happy hour. We take wine in to the nursing home and they know at every day to offer her either a wine or a gin and tonic.”
“We all visit her all the time and just take her out and for fish and chips along the waterfront and things like that, and it makes her happy,” says Gillian.
This special relationship prompted Gillian to nominate her aunty for Bupa’s Caring for Our Great’s competition to win a trip to the 2015 Toyota AFL Grand Final.
She snapped and shared a selfie (pictured above) and was flooded with positive messages.
The residents at Bupa Aged Care Tugun were the judges and all nominated Joanie as the greatest of the ‘greats’.
“It was unanimous, we all loved Joanie’s story,” says Terri Cause from Bupa Aged Care Tugun.
“It was so much fun, the residents loved getting to judge,” Terri says.
“We held a morning tea and read all of the stories out to everyone, then passed them around for people to read and pick the top five.”
The residents also chose Nikki Tilley’s nomination of her grandparents Brenton and Margaret Gill.
The 85-year-olds have been married for 61 years.
“They’re just the best people that I know,” says Nikki.
“My grandad is a real practical joker and he keeps life light and fun.”
Nikki describes her grandmother as “her person”.
“She just gives really good advice, I know she’ll always listen and she never makes me feel silly.”
The thing Nikki is most grateful for is the value of family that her grandparents instilled in her, which she’s passed on to her two children.
“I don’t want life to ever get so busy that I don’t get to spend time with them,” says Nikki.