Barbara Alexander began receiving

Barbara Alexander began receiving services from OAK Tasmania at OAK Lifestyle Choices in Daly Road, Lenah Valley, after leaving Willow Court in the 1990’s.

When Barb began at OAK she was a very proud woman who always liked to look her best and therefore often took part in ‘pampering’ programs. Barb had a lot of personal goals aimed at achieving a higher quality of life. Some of the goals included community integration, making friends, overcoming some hurdles in regard to mobility, and maintaining relationships with friends and family.

Barbara worked hard toward these goals. There are many stories floating around the organisation about the times Barb used to go out for Coffee Club with her new friends and there are plenty of photos of the days when she used to access the wider community for a picnic or to see a show. Another thing Barb loves is music. Her Fridays were usually full of music and at any chance she had she would steal the stage and belt out a solo for everyone to witness.

Barb has been described as the matriarch of OAK, very much a Mother or Grandmother figure to the many people that attended Community Access over the years. She formed a strong relationship with everyone she met. She was a loving woman who liked to make sure everyone was okay and that things were done right. However, if Barb was upset with you for some reason she had no shame in telling you so. One staff member describes her first encounter with Barb. “Barb presented as the sweet little old lady until someone asked her if she would do something she didn’t want to do, then she got fired up and all these cuss words flowed freely from her mouth, enough to make your hair curl.”

Toward the end of 2015 Barb began transitioning into an aged care facility. She didn’t want to leave OAK altogether as she had so many friends here, this way she had the best of both worlds. In June 2016 after much consideration Barb decided that the aged care facility better suited her needs and she decided to transition out of OAK altogether. Her last day was an extremely emotional one and there wasn’t a dry eye in the building.

OAK Tasmania staff were invited to celebrate Barb’s 90th birthday in August, 2016. It was a great opportunity to see Barb again and meet some of the people she crossed paths with in her busy 90 years. One hundred people RSVP’d and once word got out about the celebration even some local politicians wanted to join in on the fun. Barb in her usual style sat up the front of the room, took hold of the microphone and rather than thank everyone for coming, belted out “Road to Gundagai”.

Barb is greatly missed at OAK. Her smiling face and happy nature made everyone’s day just that bit better.