Rita and Tony Danko

We became BRMC members four years ago when we moved house from Melbourne to Ballarat and have enjoyed the monthly Tucker, bus trips and other activities organised by Teresa and Co.

Unfortunately, Tony has not been well and 18 months ago he was moved to PS Hobson Residential Aged Care in Ballarat. I continued to enjoy the activities of the Multicultural group on my own and made many good friends there.

Then came corona virus. I was still permitted to visit Tony even though restrictions applied. Life for me was pretty lonely until the Social Support Team came to the rescue bringing food and activity packs. One of the BRMC’s Activity Packs contained a set of paints, brushes and canvas, enticing to an ex painter.

“Shall I paint again?” My little house is already wall papered with my many previous paintings.

“Will I remember how to paint?”

“What shall I paint?”

These were all questions running through my mind.

Finally I decided to paint some flowers. I presented these to Natalie on her next visit.

Thanks to the gift of paints from BRMC, I restarted a long forgotten skill and love of painting and the COVID-19 isolation became bearable. The Riot shop in Ballarat is selling oil paint, brushes, canvas etc. at 50% off and so far I have finished nine paintings.

One day I saw a large flock of black galahs fly over my garden. I know them to be quite rare and to see so many was a sight indeed. I painted one with blue and purple weathers instead of black because they are not really all black. They have a shimmer of black and purple sheen on their feathers. I have always loved to paint Australian flora and fauna.

What to do with all my paintings?

I decided to do an exhibition on Facebook. A new painting each day. I have 24 followers already and more are coming each day. This is very encouraging to keep painting.

When compulsory wearing of face masks became law, they were scarce and in short supply. I remembered another long forgotten skill – sewing – and took out my sewing machine to make face masks for myself and family. It kept me busy for some time making many different coloured ones. I made so many that I now have 7 to spare and happy to give them away to whoever wants them.

It was devastating to read about so many COVID-19 deaths in Residential Care Homes and I became worried about Tony.

The new Government legislation made it possible for me to bring Tony home and still keep his place at PS Hobson. Tony was desperately wanting to come home, but could I cope?

One of our sons who is currently studying for his Masters at Melbourne Uni generously promised to put his study on hold and come to Ballarat to live if I could not cope looking after Tony. I took Tony home on 28th July and I was happy to tell my son to continue with his study.

Both Tony and I are happy to be together again. I know there is home help available but so far I have not needed it. His place at the Aged Care Home is kept until a certain time and this is a good stopgap should he get worse.

We both look forward to weekly visit from the BRMC Social Support Team and hope the next one might be a bit longer!

Check out Rita’s autobiography for sale on Twilight Market Online: https://twilightmarket.brmc.org.au/collections/rita-danko/products/niina