Meet community volunteer Julia Chapman

Julia Chapman is one resilient woman. After raising 10 children of her own and giving countless hours to community volunteering throughout her life, it was time to have a rest. Julia now lives in Tamworth and has been helped in her home by Home Nursing Group for the past two years.

Born into a family of eight in Dirranbandi and living on the land for much of her early years, Julia is no stranger to hard work. Helping her mother with her siblings from a young age, Julia then worked as a station cook on large farming properties, cooking for shearers and during the busy harvest time.

Life became ever busier when Julia had her own 10 children. “That was a full-time job,” she chuckles. “I had five children under the age of six and struggled for a while after splitting with my partner,” she said. Showing just how resilient she is, Julia carried on, working hard to make ends meet by cotton chipping and cooking on the farm while raising her young family.

Julia has always made time for her community, spending many years volunteering in Gunnedah. “I was on the council committee, the hospital committee and the TAFE committee. I was a volunteer in policing and I’m also a JP,” she said.

After living in Gunnedah for several years, and with her children now grown up and spread across the country in Gunnedah, Toowoomba, Ballina and Dalby, Julia decided it was finally time for her to have a rest, moving into a unit in Tamworth two years ago. While being incredibly stoic, Julia lives with a lot of pain due to issues with her knees, muscle spasms, arthritis and osteo arthritis. Realising that she would need some help, she engaged Home Nursing Group to assist with a range of tasks that are now too difficult.

“Home Nursing Group helps keep me in my own home. They help with all the things I find too much now. They help me with showers, clean my unit, do my shopping, hang clothes on the line for me and wipe up my dishes. They’ll also take me out if I want to go somewhere,” said Julia.

“I don’t know how I’d survive without the care support workers from Home Nursing Group coming in and looking after me.”

You’d think she’d be keen to hang up the apron after years of cooking meals for her family and others, but it’s quite the opposite, with Julia still cooking all her own meals at home. “I do love cooking, and I also used to crochet and knit but my hands don’t work like they used to,” she said.

Coming from a large family and being actively involved in the community her whole life, the past few months have been a particularly challenging time for Julia, who is very social by nature, and has not left her unit in over 10 weeks due to Covid-19.

“I enjoy going out to the movies and dinner, but I’ve been staying home to be safe. My daughters and grandchildren from Gunnedah call in occasionally, which is great, and it’s been very comforting to know that Home Nursing Group are there for me during this time. The staff are so lovely and it’s so nice to have familiar faces around me when I’m home on my own. We also have a good chat!” said Julia.

Julia is the first to admit that she can be a bit bossy and knows her own mind but says the care support workers from Home Nursing Group have taken the time to get to know the way she likes things done. “They’ve been wonderful to me. We communicate well and if I ask for something, they will do it just the way I like it done,” said Julia.

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