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101 years and counting


Tuesday, 08 August 2023

Abervale resident Nance Cunningham just recently celebrated her 101 birthday. With more than 25 years living at the retirement village, we thought it was about time to catch up with her and hear some of the great stories about her life at Abervale.

Happy hour sealed the deal

Nance has always been an independent person. She used to own a caravan park down at Torquay along the Great Ocean Road, and also operated a petrol station. It was a three generation business, and also the spot where she first met Andrew Scholten more than 50 years ago, who should move on to become the village manager at the very retirement community Nance now calls her home. ‘He was the naughty boy from the caravan park,’ she remembers with a smile. 

But it wasn’t Andrew who got Nance interested in Abervale, it was a pure coincidence. She was on her way home from line dancing when she took a wrong turn and saw the sign for Abervale. She decided to go in and have a look. ‘I parked out the front and came in and they had happy hour. They were dancing and drinking Sherry,’ she reflects. 

As Nance walked up to the noticeboard to have a look, a resident approached her. ‘She was asking if I was thinking of coming here, and I said I am thinking about it. And she replied ‘Come in now, don’t get any older, you are old enough’. So I did and it was the best choice I have made because I could be independent and still live my life.’

‘It was the best choice I have made.’

Two female Abervale retirement living residents hugging and laughing Nance has made many friends in her time at Abervale

Not even a rainstorm can stop her

It wasn’t just dancing and happy hour that convinced Nance to move to Abervale all those years ago. ‘The staff are just wonderful,’ she says. ‘The last 3 years for everybody were a bad time. But with all that happening, the staff here have just covered every aspect. I have been very lucky to have my last quarter of my life here.’

‘I have been very lucky to have my last quarter of my life here.’

But this dedication goes both ways. 

When the village was hit with a rainstorm in the middle of the night, village manager Andrew and his staff hurried in to help, only to find the 101 year old standing in the garden outside her house and cleaning the drains.

The village staff were pulling an all nighter to clear blockages and prevent any further damage. After seeing one of them in draining wet clothes, Nance dove into her closet and put out a nice warm pyjama for the workers to help them get a good night's rest in a dry set of clothes.

‘That’s the kind of person Nance is,’ says Andrew. And it shows the amazing community spirit from both residents and staff members at Abervale.


Find out more about Abervale, VIC.


For more information about the lifestyle and support offered at our retirement villages, call our customer service team on 1800 550 550.

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