Every day, Peggy Miller walks out to her garden to collect fresh flowers and trim the stems. Sometimes, she collects snippets of parsley and mint to sprinkle over her dinner. No matter the weather, Peggy enjoys pottering around her garden, nurturing her green thumb.
“I’ve got some beautiful flowers,” she said.
“It’s not a big garden, but I like to keep it looking nice.”
In August this year, Peggy will celebrate her 101st birthday. Living in what she describes as a “happy” retirement village, Peggy still lives independently.
Her support professionals from Just Better Care visit twice a day, six days a week to assist with meal preparation. While admittedly there are some things she can no longer do on her own, Peggy says she won’t let her age be a barrier to leading a wonderful life.
“The best thing about waking up each morning is seeing the sun shine on a new day,” she said.
“I’m certainly very lucky. Many people, when they get to my age, they aren’t as mobile. I’m very blessed to be so active at this age. I can still do some digging in the garden, but I usually try to con other people into doing that,” she laughed.
Mandy, one of Peggy’s Just Better Care support professionals, said Peggy’s outlook on life was always so positive.
“Peggy is such an inspiration to me,” she said. “She still gets around by herself, takes lengthy car trips to visit relatives and even visits the hairdresser every week. Her happy disposition makes her a pleasure to be around. She never complains and always sees the good in everyone.
“Going to visit Peggy is not like I'm going to work, I really look forward to seeing her and every day she teaches me that life is what you make it.”
Jarrod, who has worked with Peggy for about a year, mimicked the sentiment, saying Peggy was defying what the typical expectations were for someone her age.
“You could never say she isn’t living life to the fullest,” Jarrod said.
“She’s even given me tips of cooking and such when doing meal preparation, so it’s very nice to have that additional involvement from her.”
Keeping herself busy and getting involved in different activities is the key to living a good life, Peggy says.
“I’ve got lovely friends who come and take me out for lunch a lot.
“They took me to the golf club the other day which was very enjoyable. We watched a few players swing and miss the ball, which I have to say, was entertaining,” she laughed.
“I used to play golf as a young woman. These days though, I prefer to watch – it’s better to sit back and watch with your feet up!”
When asked what her secret for living for over a century was, Peggy credited her faith, family, friends and support network.
“I’m lucky to have good family, good friends and good care,” she said.
“I really feel blessed. The village I live in provides cleaners to help at home and the support staff from Just Better Care comes to help with lunch and dinner six days a week.
“On a Sunday I do it myself, sometimes with the help of my family, or my family might take me out to dinner which is always nice. I’ve got a wonderful family who visit a lot.”
Peggy got married at the age of 25 in an Anglican church in Kiama, on the New South Wales South Coast. On the day of their wedding, her husband was called up for active army service. He was given seven days to pack up his life and leave for training camp.
“It was a difficult time, but that was just the way it was then,” Peggy said.
“Because everyone was in the same boat, you couldn’t feel sorry for yourself.”
Peggy lost her husband many years ago after he battled an illness contracted during active service. When he was away, Peggy would join the other wives to bake cakes.
“I’d make a cake every week to send to my husband. It would never reach him, but I’m sure it went to someone else’s husband.”
Peggy has since hung up her apron, but shares her baking wisdom with the younger members of the Manly Country Women’s Association branch once a month.
“A friend of mine is the president and she picks me up to go to the meeting at the Manly branch. The younger girls are probably better at cooking,” she laughed.
Peggy’s motto for life at 100 years young is the same she has followed all her life; one of positivity and possibility.
“It’s a good life. Go out, get involved and go with the flow. And love your family and friends, everyday.”
To listen to other inspiring stories from across the Just Better Care network, visit possible.justbettercare.com