If the weather is fine, you’ll often find Leonie Gambetta in her garden. There’s not much the award-winning green thumb likes doing more, other than perhaps walking her mini-foxie, Lucy. It’s a therapeutic pleasure relished all the more, since Leonie lost her husband, Greg, to a heart attack nearly four years ago.
“I looked after him and nursed him,” she says. “It’s very quiet here without Greg. He used to call me ‘old bat’, would you believe it! Very cheeky. I miss him every day. It’s very quiet, that’s why I have to get out of the house. It’s lucky I have Lucy to keep me company, she sleeps on my bed.”
Leonie also has the help of Home Nursing Group, who drop by several times a week to help her with work around the house.
“The nurse from Home Nursing Group comes every four weeks; she checks my blood pressure and makes sure everything is okay” Leonie says. Another girl comes and takes me shopping every second Thursday and someone comes and does the house cleaning every Friday, they change the sheets, make the bed, vacuum and wash the floor.”
It’s work Leonie used to be very adept at, having worked as a housekeeper, offering ironing and housework for many years. Now, she says it’s wonderful to have the help with tasks that have grown a little harder – preferring to pour her energy into her gardening and her dear little dog.
“I take Lucy for a walk, generally twice a day. She knows when I’m getting dressed that we’re going for a walk. She barks at me like mad!” Leonie says.
With her sister and brothers in Lightning Ridge and Inverell, and her mother also in Inverell celebrating her 86th birthday next month, Leonie says it’s a relief to have HNG staff members drop in when they do. She says she’s grateful for the help and for the conversations.
“If I get problems, I just write it down and the Home Nursing Group staff help me Leonie says. “I can go to the doctor on my own, and if I need a bit of milk I can pop down the street. But it’s good to have help with the big shop. I love to cook – I used to get a bit of takeaway once in a blue moon, sometimes Chinese, or pizza. But I mainly cook my own tea now. Homemade pie and mash tonight!”