Althea Macaulay, 97, plans to be in her home 'the rest of my life'

Althea Macaulay, a 97-year-old former biology professor, talks to the CBC's Lauren Bird about her decision to continue living in her home.

Information Morning Fredericton is exploring issues facing elderly people as they age in New Brunswick

At 97 years old, Althea Macaulay has no plans to leave her house.

"I feel very comfortable here," said the retired biology professor.

"It's in a very secluded court and I know all the people in the court — although they do change from time to time; my friends know that I'm here."

She lives alone in the single-storey house with her cat, Annie, but she does have some help.

Pauline Tramble, a care-worker with Bay Shore Home Health, spends a few hours, four days a week with Macaulay.

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Tramble helps with her personal care, she gives her a manicure on Tuesdays and washes her hair on Wednesdays.

She also helps with her emotional care, reading to Macaulay who can no longer read because of her eyesight.

They finished books on JFK and Winston Churchill, now they're reading Anne of Green Gables.

"Althea loves to be read to," Tramble said, she opened the book to read a section.

Macaulay said the inability to read leaves her feeling lost at times.

 like to know that someone isn't going to turf me out. I know I'm going to be here in my own home all the rest of my life.- Althea Macaulay

"Whenever I can commandeer someone to read to me, I do," she said.

Macaulay's son John brings her audio books from the library and visits her every evening.

He said he it is important to spend time with his mother every day.

"These experiences of doing this are going to develop into memories that we're going to cherish for years to come and we're always going to remember this particular period of her life in a special way," he said.

"I think ... we'll look back and think, 'Well, we're really happy things worked out that way,' because all three generations [of our family] have had a chance to get together and enjoy that time together on practically a daily basis."

That help she gets from her friends and family make it possible for Macaulay to stay in her house.

"I really like to think that this is a home that I own. I like to know that someone isn't going to turf me out. I know I'm going to be here in my own home all the rest of my life," she said.

"John's going to sell the house when I die and I don't know when that will be, probably in the next five or six years or maybe before that, but it seems as if it's a good place to be. I enjoy it here."


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