On 14 December Grace Symons opened a letter from the Prime Minister of Australia Hon Anthony Albanese MP and His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia.
The letters congratulated Grace on her 103rd birthday.
Grace was born in Sydney in 1920 and grew up in Arncliffe surrounded by nature, fields and a running creek. Grace remembered her mother’s big wide verandah where she watched the kids play. In the 1920s the Country Women’s Association Australia was formed, Vegemite hit the shelves followed shortly after by the family favourite Aeroplane Jelly. The first film with actual talking was shown in Australia in the late 1920’s and the first aeroplanes across the Pacific Ocean took to the skies in 1928 from San Francisco to Brisbane.
Grace celebrated her birthday with friends and her daughter Dale at Garden Village. Recreational Activities Officers Cheryl and Amy organised a wonderful afternoon tea with a delicious chocolate cake to mark the occasion.
Grace’s daughter Dale attended to share the celebration. Dale said “She was in some ways a tough mother but always a loving mother. She taught me how to love other people, how to care and I love her with every part of me.’
Dale cared for her mum at home until a few years ago when Grace moved into Garden Village. In her time at Garden Village, Grace has enjoyed companionship with other residents, taking part in activities including Virtual Reality Experiences and she appeared on the local television news showcasing the latest technological advances with SMART Boards.
Grace recently celebrated her friend Doris’ 100th birthday. And she has enjoyed virtual reality sessions including seeing giraffes, elephants and African wildlife. Grace said “When it was not expected it was even more terrific. It was pretty and my word it was an amazing adventure.” Virtual Reality has been shown to have a positive impact on increased social connectivity, wellbeing and providing stimuli to improve memory and cognitive function.
From tech to travel to afternoon teas – Garden Village is a great place to be. Residents shared their best wishes on Grace’s birthday.
“How fortunate are we to have a person 103 in our midst and I compared it with my 95 years old and hoped that I could reach 103 at some time in the future. You look remarkably well preserved for a lady of your age I congratulate you and would like to wish you many happy birthdays from now on,” said Frank Hardy.
It’s been a pleasure knowing you we have had quite good long talks and I would like to wish you good health and happiness for the future,” added Brian McCauley.
When questioned about her longevity secret, Grace, with a twinkle in her eye, responded, “I don’t let secrets out. If I let the secret out it would go right through this room before you could blink.”
She added, “I don’t know exactly why I’ve lived to 103 but if you are good and try hard enough you will get to where I am.” The gathering enjoyed two rounds of happy birthday singing wishing Grace well on this special day.
Craig Wearne CEO Garden Village said “We are so delighted that Grace lives in the Garden Village community showing kindness and friendship to everyone around her. Formally, the name Grace has a meaning of goodness and generosity – both describing Grace well. Happy Birthday Grace!”