By Lilia Nadong Gonzales
We are amidst uncertain times of global turbulence, natural disasters and human misdemeanours. To top them all is the prevailing global COVID-19 pandemic. When times are bad, we take comfort in the hope that these adversities would get better. We have to accept reality with an open mind, adjust, redefine our priorities and goals in life. My quest for what is ultimately satisfying is to reduce stress and mental depression to enjoy and prolong life.
My husband and I retired in the Philippines in the 1980s. Upon retirement as a University Instructor in Health Education and Nutrition and my husband as a Chemical Engineer, I worked in foreign shores. As the saying goes, “he who never leaves home will never know the joy of returns”. I taught in Nigeria and learned that Nigerians unceasingly utter “no problem” as expression. In Jamaica, also called “Island in the Sun”, I served as a Program Associate with UNICEF’s Child Survival and Development (CSDR). My residential tours broadened my work experience and brought me a wider outlook of life.
My family set foot in Australia as migrants through the government’s family reunion scheme in 1993. Tutoring, food handling and volunteer work in the community occupied our days for some time. Soon thereafter, we were granted Australian citizenship and Age Pension. With these, we were able to avail generous benefits and support of various government services, health care programs and Age Care packages provided by the different governmental agencies.
As we age with chronic ailments, we are recipients of life supporting equipment and services free of charge. Under the Age Care Package, we are encouraged and motivated to live independently by providing us home support facilities like mobility aids, medical care equipment and household services. In a nutshell, abundant food, out-in-house conveniences and generous benefits we are enjoying is spring of life for us as elderly couple.
Likewise, our gratitude is to the Pilipino Elderly Association of South East Region (PEASER) as a major key to our comfortable life Down Under. As a community and family-oriented organisation, it has helped us enormously in integrating socially with others in a multicultural society. PEASER afforded us to experience interstate tours and various activities showcasing Pilipino culture through performing arts and cuisine.
PEASER is where my family found the three R’s of life in Australia—rest, relaxation and recreation. Praise the Lord!
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