From rubbing the feet of a male resident to warm them up, to returning a well-used corset to a female resident, retired Ross Home nurse Fay Smith saw it all.
Before Fay joined the Ross Home team, she worked in the public health system, including working in hospital wards. Wanting to change direction and work in a children’s home, Fay applied but was considered to be too young to work with children, who wouldn’t be a lot younger than her.
“I was encouraged to work at Ross Home which wasn’t in my plan, but I wasn’t going to argue so off I went,” says Fay.
“It was wonderful. I walked in the door and knew straight away that this is where I belonged.”
“The matron, Miss Elliott, was lovely and was one of the best bosses I’ve ever had.”
As a young, shy nurse, Fay was sometimes the subject of some mischief by male residents.
One ‘encouraged’ Fay to give him a kiss on the cheek, but she resisted saying, “that’s not in my contract!”
Women were often still wearing corsets. “One lady’s corset was in dire need of being thrown into the incinerator, it was that old and dilapidated, but she insisted the corset be returned to her. While we were reluctant to do so, we did as she requested, and it was just as well we did.”
It turned out the lady had hidden large sums of money in the corset!
Fay recalls how the Ross Home staff worked together as a team, helping care for the residents.
“It was really nice. We would bath and dress the residents, take them their meals, and encourage them to mix and socialise with each other.”
Fay has a wonderful sense of humour and laughs heartily as she recalls the fun they had with residents.
Fay also lived at Ross Home and many of her friends were other nurses, some of whom went to church activities together.
Her memories are very much about caring for residents whilst having some fun.
“Older people have got so much to share by telling their stories and it was a privilege to hear about the lives they had led.”
If you are interested in working in aged care visit our vacancies page and how you can make a difference.