The Artful Recovery: Gina's Journey with Mayflower Home Care

June 14, 2024

Gina's dining room, warmly lit and filled with the aroma of freshly baked treats, is a showcase of her resilience and creativity.

Over the past 2 1/2 years, she has created over 200 paintings, each a vibrant symbol of her journey to recovery.

Her transformation from a bedridden hospital patient to an active, mobile individual is nothing short of inspiring.

"I've been painting almost now for 2 1/2 years - I'm running out of ideas of what to paint!" she says with a laugh.

Gina holding a painting of a tiger's head.
Pictured above: Gina painted a tiger for her son Peter, who is a dedicated Richmond Tigers supporter.

The Therapeutic Power of Art

Gina's journey with art began during a challenging period when an illness left her unable to walk. Faced with the prospect of long, idle days, Gina's son introduced her to adults colouring in books.

This simple activity soon blossomed into a passion for painting, which she pursued daily. "It relaxes me," she shares. The therapeutic nature of painting provided a much-needed distraction during times of anxiety and restlessness.

Inspired by nature and her surroundings, Gina's paintings often depict serene landscapes and beloved subjects. "I love painting sceneries," she says.

A painting of a horse in a field pulling a cart of flowers.
One of her favourite pieces, a vibrant depiction of a horse-drawn cart filled with flowers, reflects her memories of Sicily. "In Sicily, they have a horse and cart to sell flowers,” she explains, “they go in the streets selling them."

A Hub of Activity and Support

Gina's home, a lively hub of social activity, reflects her outgoing nature and love for hospitality.

Gina regularly treats visitors, including friends, support workers and volunteers, delighting them with delicious homemade sweets she enjoys baking, like a strawberry scroll - a tradition that brings her great joy.

And, when her family visits, Italian cuisine and international dishes are also on the menu. "I love cooking fried rice, and Chinese-style food, and curries. I love curries!"

Farm and Family Life

Living on a dairy farm in Cobram for 14 years, Gina's life was filled with family gatherings and hard work. "I had to get up at five to milk the cows!" she remembers.

It wasn’t all hard work, the family dairy farm also created a destination for her extended family to create fond memories and share quality time together.

“When we were on the family farm, the family would often come for a long weekend,” she says, “it was nothing to have 20 or 25 people in our home for the weekend.”

The home was filled with loved ones, “there were beds everywhere on the floor,” she recalls with a smile.

These experiences have shaped her resilient spirit and her love for social gatherings.

A member of the Mayflower Home Care Team with Gina.
Mayflower Home Care team member Michelle with Gina whom Gina shares a special connection with.

The Role of Mayflower Home Care

Gina's remarkable recovery and active lifestyle are supported by the comprehensive services provided by Mayflower Home Care.

Gina receives regular personal care, cleaning, and transport services, as well as therapeutic massages, which have significantly improved her mobility. "I find them very attentive," Gina says, “they are really quite good,” praising our compassionate and dedicated Home Care team.

Her typical week of services includes a mix of social and practical activities. Fridays are reserved for a thorough cleaning, while Tuesdays involve lighter tasks and social connection with her Mayflower Support Worker, Michelle.

Thursdays are for outings, which might include shopping, lunch, or a visit to the pet shop. "We do whatever I like on a Thursday," Gina explains.

Gina's home care package addresses her physical needs and enhances her quality of life.
The regular therapeutic massages help keep her moving, while the transport services enable her to attend her beloved Italian Club and visit friends regularly.

Cherished Memories and Strength

Gina's life story is rich with cherished memories and poignant moments. She raised four loving sons, Mathew, Michael, Peter and Robert. Sadly, Gina she lost her youngest son, Robert 15 years ago, whom she affectionately called her ‘gift from God.’

“Robert was really a happy-go-lucky little boy from when he was little” she says, ”He was really nice, but God wanted him and he took him,” she says, reflecting on her beloved son with both sadness and acceptance.

Reflecting on this loss, Gina shares the Italian saying, "O mangiar questa minestra o saltar questa finestra," meaning ‘it is what it is’, "you either eat the soup at the table or you can throw yourself out the window," explains Gina.

Empowered with Care

With the support of Mayflower Home Care, Gina continues to live a fulfilling and active life. Her home remains a welcoming space, filled with art, love, and the warmth of social connection.

Her journey is a testament to the healing power of creativity and the importance of empowering seniors through compassionate care.