AFTER dedicating more than 40 years of her life to working in aged care, Bathurst resident Joan Sweetnam has been honoured for her commitment.
Ms Sweetnam has been named 2021 Bathurst Local Woman of the Year after spending more than half of her life caring for residents in aged care facilities.
Ms Sweetnam worked at Opal, previously known as Bathurst Nursing Home, and then spent 25 years with the St Catherine's Aged Care team before retiring last year at the age of 77.
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"I'm honoured, but there's millions of people better than me to receive awards; even at the nursing home the girls work so hard." Ms Sweetnam said.
"St Catherine's is a top nursing home; you wouldn't find a better nursing home. It's a lovely, lovely place.
"I've loved my job. I've been very lucky to be given the privilege to actually share the residents' lives and I've always been accepted into families."
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Ms Sweetnam said she misses having a routine and it probably wasn't a great time to retire given the COVID restrictions that came into play shortly after.
However, she still does her best to keep busy.
Since retiring, Ms Sweetnam has continued to keep her foot in the door by volunteering at St Catherine's as well as Daffodil Cottage when COVID has allowed.
She also visits a few elderly ladies in the community and enjoys spending time in her garden.
"There really isn't any other place on earth I'd rather work than in aged care," she said.
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State Member for Bathurst Paul Toole presented Ms Sweetnam with her award this week and thanked her for her contributions to Bathurst's aged care system.
"Joan's outstanding achievements over the years of volunteering and supporting the community has been acknowledged with this prestigious award," he said.
During her time working in aged care, Ms Sweetnam said she has gained some great friends and memories that will last a lifetime.
With her husband having passed away and her children not in Bathurst, Ms Sweetnam said St Catherine's was more than a job to her, it was her whole life.
While honoured to receive the award, she said she felt she was just doing what she loved.
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