From living in a cold caravan with no heating to living in their own heated villa

The Benevolent Society helped Dave and Mauve move into a centrally heated villa, a far cry from the days when they had to call an ambulance to their caravan to rescue them from the winter cold.

Dave and Mauve, 98 and 92 years old respectively, have been married for twenty years. It is the second marriage for both of them. Dave was a mechanic in the RAAF in WW2, serving in Darwin and PNG. In his later years, he was a caretaker at a skydiving centre, often going up for a jump himself. On his retirement in his late 80s, he was given a caravan on the property to live in with his new wife.


Dave and Mauve came to the attention of The Benevolent Society local Aged Care Assessment Team because of their frequent hospital admissions in the winter months. The caravan had no hot water and intermittent electricity, so when the weather grew too cold, they would call for an ambulance. A warm bed and a hot meal was the reward!

The hospital Social Worker worked very hard on their behalf, and thanks to Department of Housing, they were given a one-bedroom villa. Sadly, it was located quite a distance from their country caravan in an 'unsavoury' location. During this time, Dave obtained nursing care from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and his wife Mauve was referred to The Benevolent Society for a Home Care Package.

The Benevolent Society sent them a lovely Home Support Partner called Deb Dodd, who travelled to their villa to meet them. Her first task was finding their unit because a local vandal had stolen the street sign!

Thinking on her feet, Deb made a note to contact the local Council to fix the street sign so that Dave and Mauve could be located quickly in case of an emergency.

Finally, after more than a few false turns, our Home Support Partner found Dave and Mauve’s unit. They answered the door along with their faithful dog, Dozer. They took great pride in the unit as they showed Deb around. 

Deb spoke to them about their social isolation, but they told her that they had a friend from the skydiving centre who visited fortnightly to take Dave out shopping. They had no other family except for a 100-year-old sister who was living with Alzheimer’s in residential care.

After the visit, Deb organised a personal alarm system for their home with an alert pendant. After much discussion with Dave and Mauve and several chats over a cuppa, together they devised a comprehensive Home Care Package Plan to meet their needs. They acquired some domestic assistance, transport to medical appointments, shopping and social support.

Both Dave and Mauve were competent in conducting their own personal care and continued to manage any medications and food preparation themselves.

A year later, Dave was so impressed with The Benevolent Society that he asked if they could move both their total Home Care Packages over to The Benevolent Society. The package funds were used for joint cleaning and shopping. 

One day, Deb Dodd their case worker arrived at their home to find that their fridge was out of order and they were keeping their food in an esky. Thanks to The Benevolent Society’s relationship with The Good Guys, they were able to get a new fridge and have it delivered straight away.

Dave and Mauve's resilience is impressive, as is their gratitude for things that are often taken for granted. They were grateful for the furniture, most of which had been donated.

*Names and images have been changed to protect members of the family