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Active Retirees : Active Retirees Feb-March 2013
MEMBER PROFILE The healing power of small talk Madeleine Groves has spent a decade visiting Probus members from all over SA and NT in hospitals, lending a kind ear and offering a soothing word. FIONA BAKER W hen Madeleine Groves joined the Highbury Probus Club in Adelaide about 10 years ago she wasn’t sure her baked offerings would be up to scratch, so she put her hand up for hospital visiting duties instead. “The first meeting I went to there were all these beautiful goodies like homemade sausage rolls and jelly cakes,” the 85-year-old recalls. “I’m not so much of a cook but I do love talking to people – and I wanted to do my bit as a Probus member – so I started visiting people in hospital.” Today she can’t say off the top of her head how many patients she’s visited since then – it’s been a lot – but she hasn’t forgotten any of them. “I have met the most wonderful people and enjoyed every minute,” Madeleine says. Rural and regional Probus Clubs in SA and the NT contact Madeleine if one of their members is in an Adelaide hospital. “It can be very lonely being in hospital, particularly if they’re in there for a long time, which is not as common now. When I first started visiting people, they could be in there for quite a while 54 | www.probussouthpacific.org sometimes, separated from loved ones,” she says. “Because many of the people I visit can come from a long way from Adelaide, they may not have many visitors and can really look forward to having some one turn up and be interested.” Powers of perception Over the years visiting such a wide array of patients, Madeleine has honed her people-reading skills. “I’ve always been a friendly person and anyone who knows me will tell you I love a chat but I can also recognise when a patient may not feel like chatting,” she says. “Maybe they’re a bit sleepy after an anaesthetic, or in some pain or feeling upset. It doesn’t take me too long to work out if they want a visitor or not. And if they don’t want to talk, I’m happy to just sit with them quietly, make sure they’re comfortable, or do all the talking myself – I’m good at that.” When Madeleine’s not visiting poorly Probus patients in hospital, she’s extremely busy, either here or abroad. She’s an avid globetrotter. She and her husband travelled widely together during their 61-year marriage and, when he died three years ago, she still wanted to keep travelling. “I feel like I’ve been almost everywhere now,” she says, adding that she’s heading to Bali for Christmas with her two daughters and their partners so she can tick off that spot in the world. Travelling sisterhood Her travelling companion now is her 87-year-old sister, Patti, who’s just as keen on holidaying overseas. The two have just returned from a trip to Holland and a cruise down the Danube River. “Patti’s husband died not long after mine, so it’s now just us two girls travelling all over the whole world,” she says. Next year, the pair is heading to Spain. Lightly Salted
Active Retirees Dec-Jan 2013
Active Retirees April-May 2013