Meet Wilma Ackland from Baptcare’s Affordable Housing community

A few years ago, 85-year-old Great-grandmother, Wilma Ackland, was at cross-roads in her life. Recently widowed, Wilma needed to decide what to do with her life.

She had been living in Baptcare’s Coasthaven aged care community in Norlane for over three years since her husband had become unwell. “Things got to a stage where my husband became very sick and couldn’t live at home anymore, so we moved into Coasthaven together for extra support. He wanted me to stay by his side and I wanted to be with him too. Coasthaven was so good to us and I’ve made some lifelong friends there who I still see today. But when my husband died, I realised that I wanted to live independently again.”

Wilma said that during her time at Coasthaven, she used to walk around the surrounding streets of Norlane with various residents and friends.

“One day, I saw a man moving out of one of the surrounding apartments (BAH apartments) and thought, I like the look of those, and so I applied to be a BAH resident.”

Wilma’s experience with BAH was positive. “The whole process was so easy – I was in the apartment one week after I applied!” said Wilma. “Helen (Helen Thompson-Boyd, Baptcare Affordable Housing Tenancy Worker) was so helpful, and it probably helped that Baptcare already knew about me from Coasthaven”.

“I just love living alone and being independent,” said Wilma. “And I just love my apartment. It’s new and fresh with a great outdoor area. It’s also easy to keep clean and I just really like it.”

Coasthaven staff and residents are also thrilled that Wilma is still living in the area.  “Wilma is a dear friend of Coasthaven,” said Lifestyle Co-ordinator, Nora Wee. “She is like family to us. Wilma has boundless energy and does everything out of the goodness of her heart.”

As well as visiting residents at Coasthaven for regular chats, Wilma runs a knitting group at Coasthaven.  For the recent Daffodil Day, she knitted daffodil brooches for the Coasthaven community. And then there’s Wilma’s extra-curricular activities, like skydiving! Wilma is a recent TV star, featured on Channel 7 news for skydiving at the age of 85!

“I’m very busy,” said Wilma. “I crochet, knit and belong to the Baptist Church at Cloverdale. I’m a proud Christian and really feel like the Lord is looking down on me and helping me in life.”