Long life has root in Eric’s love of gardens
A PASSION for gardening is 94-year-old Eric Clinch's secret for a long and happy life.
Eric, who has lived at Aveo's Freedom Care Community in Tanah Merah since late 2018, says gardening has been his passionate hobby for many years but it all started when he was just 10 years old.
"From age 10, I attended the St Vincent's Boy's Home in Parramatta, Sydney," said Eric. "In addition to classroom education, we were also taught a few trades and other technical skills. These practical skills came in handy as the orphanage was self-supporting.
"Because of our need to be self-reliant, we grew our own vegetables from seeds which taught me valuable skills such as responsibility and self-confidence, from a young age.
These childhood skills encouraged Eric to grow vegetables and flowers for his family as an adult in his suburban backyard.
"I love gardening as it gives me an interest and after all, we all need a little sunshine, fresh air and something to do."
It's not just the outdoor activity that makes Eric so fond of gardening.
"Aside from being a great source of exercise for me, it's also afforded me the opportunity to socialise with other residents. Whether they want some cuttings or just general help with taking care of their plants on the verandas, it's given me a terrific way to connect with others in my community."
Age does not stop Eric from helping out by tidying the Aveo Freedom Care Community communal gardening area, watering the plants and creating new plants from cuttings. He also helps other residents keep their veranda gardens in top shape.
Before he retired, Eric was a Boot maker and owned a shop in the Blue Mountains for many years. He was also a Firefighter and received a long service placard for his service. When it comes to living a long and active life, Eric says it is a simple combination of looking after your body by sleeping, eating and exercising well.
"To keep active, I swim three times a day and try to exercise before I go to sleep. For instance, I usually lie down and do tummy crunches while I try to touch my toes as it helps tighten my stomach muscles."
Aveo Freedom Aged Care offers residents the freedom to live as independently alongside high quality private aged care. Tanah Merah residents have access to a range of activities such as Zumba, cooking demos and trivia that encourage both physical and social wellbeing.
The communal garden is a popular space for Eric and other residents to socialise and get active.