Redhead aged care home Whiddon transports 96-year-old Doris Jones back in time with special visit

Young at heart: Doris Jones, 96, gets a visit from Lucy the pony at Whiddon aged care home in Redhead on Friday. Picture: Marina Neil
Young at heart: Doris Jones, 96, gets a visit from Lucy the pony at Whiddon aged care home in Redhead on Friday. Picture: Marina Neil

For Doris Jones, time with her beloved horse Johnny was one of the most memorable periods of her life.

Decades later, at 96 years old, the Redhead resident was given the chance to go back in time as part of a relationship-based care program at Whiddon – the aged care home where she now lives.

Lucy the 12-year-old pony was brought into the Redhead Road home on Friday to spend the morning with Ms Jones, who enjoyed feeding her carrots and brushing her mane while surrounded by family.

Her daughter Lynne Burns said Ms Jones’ memory had begun to fade in recent years, but talk of Johnny had become more frequent recently.

Ms Burns said pony club was a big part of Ms Jones’ life when she was in her late teens and early 20s and was the place young Doris met her husband.

“She’s sort of forgotten a bit of her more recent life,” Ms Burns said.

“At times, when you talk about the last few years before she came into the home she doesn’t really remember it. She’s been talking about [Johnny] more and more lately.”

Tara Carmen, who coordinates the relationship-based care program at Whiddon known as Best Week, said the initiative involved staff members putting their heads together to come up with something special they could do for each resident. 

“Basically we work with the families and work with the residents, get to know who they were a little bit before they came here,” Ms Carmen said. “As Doris’ family will tell you, she’s got a long history with horses.

“It’s great, these types of opportunities – all the residents get to get involved.”

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