NEVER OLD: Relative Care Home Support worker Trish Popp is 75 and loves her job, but the business world was ready to write her off at 60.
NEVER OLD: Relative Care Home Support worker Trish Popp is 75 and loves her job, but the business world was ready to write her off at 60.

Radical change in careers proves a happy move

WHEN Trish Popp moved to the Central Coast 16 years ago "to start a new life at 60", she discovered the business world had decided she was past her use-by date.

That's despite an impressive and varied office management and bookkeeping resume, most recently having worked as an accredited consultant with the Australian Trade Commission in Western Australia on a program helping exporters to gain development grants.

Her work history had started in the Navy at 17 and, among her more unusual positions, saw her working in the 1970s at an employment agency in Hong Kong and for a government minister in Kenya ... running a trout farm!

Like many modern jobseekers, however, she discovered "most companies don't even reply, which is terribly rude and very disheartening".

But, not one to be down for long, Trish kept looking.

"Age is just a number," she said.

"I've known 35-year-olds and 50-year-olds who think they're old and start to act old, and people in their 70s, 80s and 90s who are still doing amazing things.

"You must never think of yourself as old. If you want to do something, if you're passionate about it, just get out there and do it."

As evidence, she pointed to 86-year-old American Betty Goedhart, who still looks about 40 and is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest flying trapeze artist, having started at 78.

"So, I had a radical change of careers," Trish laughed, of "popping in one day" to a nearby business and discovering they had a vacancy for a support worker/carer.

After training, she worked with the company for 13 years, and now at 75 and working part-time with Relative Care Home Support, the Kincumber resident believes fate had stepped in to uncover her real forte.

"I love it!" she said.

"I really enjoy meeting people ... everyone out there has the most amazing life story to tell.

"And Relative Care is a smaller company, so Denise and David as owners know all the clients on a personal basis and are very careful to match them up with support workers they will relate to."

Trish has six regular clients, as well as helping out when needed.

"You get to really know your client, and my goal is to make someone laugh and smile every day," she said.

"I'm blessed with good health and I've had a pretty full life, so I like to think I'm giving back a bit to the community."

When not working, Trish enjoys reading, walking, crosswords, movies, playing cards a couple of days a week, wine and cheese nights, gardening ... and bubbles.

"I do love my glass of bubbly, and it hasn't done me any harm," she laughed.

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