Gordon's Story: Memory Lane

RDNS New Zealand

Image: Gordon Parry, 94yrs

At 94 years of age, Gordon Parry is one of Dunedin’s favourite sons. A much respected journalist, author and communications professional, he is still penning Memory Lane, the weekly column that has warmed the hearts of Otago Daily Times readers for more than 20 years. Today the visits by RDNS NZ help him to remain happy and healthy in the home that he loves.

Gordon’s wife, Helen, wife, died 18 years ago. Her loss brought about a great emptiness (they met and married just after World War II) but he decided to stay on in the family home, enjoying his garden, pulling up the odd weed and tending the rhododendrons and pink camellias. A spectacular view of Dunedin Harbour, just across the road, is icing on the cake.

Idle is not a word in Gordon’s vocabulary. He has three grandchildren and five great-granddaughters. He has authored more than 30 books, is a life member of the Dunedin Club and has twice interviewed Winston Churchill.  

For Gordon it is crucial to keep mentally active. “It is terribly important to keep the brain exercised,” he said. “Even doing a crossword or two is good for you. You don’t have to be brilliant – you just have to keep interested in things.”

Gordon was hospitalised recently and couldn’t wait to get home. “The care there was fine but, you know, your own familiar surroundings are so important. To awake in your own room is therapeutic in itself.

“I try to be as independent as possible and RDNS keeps me that way. I have had some problems with my balance. Rebecca comes four times a week and helps me with showering and also cleaning the house.  

“Nothing seems to be too much of a bother for RDNS. Everyone is so helpful and pleasant. I mentioned that I was having some trouble stimulating my appetite and they quickly referred me to a community dietician who has suggested snacking between meals – marvellous!

“No way will I be going into a nursing home in a hurry – not while I can manage in the comfort of my own home. RDNS is allowing me to do just that – along with my daughter and her family who are just across the road.

“You know, I don’t feel old, that’s the funny thing. I don’t walk as far or as fast as I once did. I guess I simply think of my age as just another number.

“I am an incredibly lucky man.”

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