Seventy-seven-year-old Joyce Ashworth has one simple secret for longevity. Teamwork.

“Whether I was at home, or at work, I worked as a team to help those around me get the best out of each day. My work and my family have always been my motivation; I love them both and they keep me going every day,” says Joyce as she celebrates becoming Juniper’s longest-serving staff member and volunteer.

Joyce met Peter when she was sixteen, and she says it was love at first sight.

“I was in a boot of a car sneaking into the drive ins and I saw Peter in the distance. I pointed him out to my friend and said I wanted to be with him,” says Joyce.

A wedding, three kids, and eight grandkids later, Joyce says the past 58 years have been some of the happiest of her life.

“Peter and I were an amazing team growing up, we did everything together. Our secret was to always work together and have respect and be honest with one another,” says Joyce.

Joyce and Peter moved to Juniper St David’s Retirement Living, Mount Lawley in 2016 after Peter was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia.

“I knew I had to think about our future, and I needed some help at home with Peter, so we made the move. Not only did we instantly gain a beautiful community of friends at St David’s, but we also gained the security and safety of being able to live independently while Peter was receiving in home care with Juniper,” she says.

After Peter’s health started to deteriorate, he moved first to Juniper St Andrews Residential Aged Care Home, and then later to Juniper Chrystal Halliday Residential Aged Care Home.

“Pete has always been very caring, and I knew how kind and caring the staff were at Juniper, so we didn’t have to think twice about where he would receive the best care,” says Joyce.

Joyce says she counts her blessings that she has worked at both the residential aged care homes that Peter has lived at.

“I had to put on a brave face at the start, but behind it all I was struggling. I knew I had to be courageous for Peter, because we are a team, and he would have done the same for me. It was hard, but I still get to see him every day, and it makes it a lot easier,” says Joyce.

Joyce now uses her own personal experiences to help staff, volunteers, and families when their loved ones move into a home.

“I can now relate with family members when their loved ones are put into care. I sit with them, I help them, and I share the advice that helped me,” she says.

Joyce has no plans on retiring any time soon and says that she still loves her job as much as she did when she started 50 years ago.

“I live every day as it comes, and I don’t say no to anything, because you never know what is around the corner.”

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