Tam and Dorothy were among Mango Hill’s original residents, moving in a week apart, and it was Dorothy’s awkward encounter with dining room seating arrangements which set the scene for their friendship.
“On my first day, I went down for lunch and walked into a lunch room that was full of people. You’re a bit nervous on your first day here and I went to sit down on a chair and a lady said, ‘you can’t sit there, this is for so and so’, so I moved to the next one and she said, ‘you can’t sit there either, that belongs to someone else’,” says Dorothy.
“So, I went and found somewhere else and I felt a bit off, as you can imagine. The next week, I was sitting at the table and I saw Tam come in and she looked as worried as I was the week before, as it was her first day. So, I just beckoned her over and said, ‘there’s a seat here if you want’ and we just clicked and we’ve been friends ever since.”
Before moving to Seasons, both women had been living alone after their husbands had passed away and were looking to be closer to family and to enjoy life without the worry of their large homes and yards.
“I lived in a big house at Bribie Island and my children all lived down here so my family thought it was time for me to move to be closer to them and that’s why I came down here,” says Tam.
“I had lived alone for seven years – my husband had died seven years before – and my house needed looking after. I had a big block of land and I was worried about getting the grass cut all the time. And one day I thought ‘I don’t have to do this anymore’ so I decided that’s it! I’ve been happy since the day I moved in,” says Dorothy.
Dorothy says that her close friendship with Tam means she has a trusted confidant, which has helped to fill the gap in her life that she felt after she lost her husband.
“It’s great to have a good friend. I have lots of friends here but not best friends – a friend you can talk with about anything and it goes no further. It’s great to have a friend like that, especially when we’ve both lost our husbands. You feel very alone when you’ve lost your husband after many years and we were both married for a long time. You need someone you can trust the way you trusted your partner and that’s how we’ve become.”
Tam and Dorothy’s closeness is evident in how they finish each other’s sentences and discuss what’s important to them.
“We just laugh together and enjoy each other’s company. Our families get on well too,” says Tam.
“Yes, we have good families and they interact well. We talk about our families. Tam’s got three daughters and I have three sons and we talk about the differences in what they are and what they do. It’s a happy situation,” adds Dorothy.
With both Tam and Dorothy crediting their friendship as one of the best parts of living at Seasons, Tam’s advice is to not wait too long to make the move.
“Don’t wait until you’re too old to enjoy it. I’m very happy here. It’s friendly and the carers are all very good and I’ve got a good friend with Dorothy.”
They also enjoy that it’s up to each resident how much they want to join in.
“You can just go up to your unit and close the door and have a bit of time to yourself and sometimes you need that,” says Tam.
“And if you’re lonely, you come down and join whatever’s going on. It’s up to you,” adds Dorothy.
“It’s got everything you want and they really care for you. The staff are lovely – you don’t want for anything!”