With over 65 years caregiving experience between them, Margaret Leigh and Barbara Joyce have many warm and colourful memories of their time with PSSC.
Starting out 35 years ago as a night care worker at Margaret Wilson home,
Margaret moved several years later to a caring role in the newly built Young Disabled Unit. Believing strongly in the positive benefits of keeping active and possessing supreme organisational skills, Margaret was soon to gain a reputation as “events coordinator extraordinaire”.
“If it was on, we went to it, and if it wasn’t on, we organised it!” she says, recalling the many outings and events she organised for residents. “From concerts, picnics and trips all over South Canterbury to gumboot competitions and roller blading demonstrations around the car park, we’ve done it all!”
Margaret also recalls with pride studying and graduating as a Diversional Therapist in her 60s. Summing up her extensive career with PSSC in a few words is something that comes easily to Margaret. “So many motivating, challenging
experiences over the years – just wonderful.”
Being able to juggle a career with a young family was what initially drew Barbara Joyce to caregiving, a career choice that would last for the next 32 years. Joining the team at the freshly built Wallingford home in 1981, Barbara remembers how “flash”everything seemed, and the strong sense of community behind the development of the home for Temuka residents.
That community feel is something Barbara feels is as much in evidence today as it was back then. And something else Wallingford has also always been known for is a sense of fun and humour, borne out by the many stories told over the years. One in particular concerns a “marmalade ghost”.
Each evening, night shift staff would set up the breakfast tables with jam, marmite and marmalade jars in the same position. Each morning, the setting would be found to have been changed at one table. Months later the “marmalade ghost” was revealed – a resident with a weakness for marmalade. Getting up in the middle of the night, he would sneak out to reset “his” table to ensure he had first choice at breakfast.
When asked to describe her time with PSSC in a couple of words, Barbara says she feels “very fortunate”. “We were always blessed with the others on the team, everyone was always there for you and very approachable. While a lot of thingshave changed over the years, one thing has not – the environment at Wallingford is as warm and welcoming as ever.”