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No Page Left Unturned
Retirement Living

Retirement living resident, Joan Bloomfield, has always enjoyed a good story. Now we can finally share one of her own!

13th March 2024

If you’re looking for a book recommendation, you need to meet retirement living resident, Joan Bloomfield. As an avid bookworm, Joan is well acquainted with the Aladdin’s cave of books available at the Bentley Park Library! 

Penny’s Library 

When Joan moved to SwanCare she was quick to visit the library, where she met Penny, our Bentley Park Librarian. Due to having macular degeneration, reading is no longer an option for Joan - but Penny was at hand to help. 

“Penny introduced me to audiobooks and it’s wonderful!” Says Joan, “I had a problem reading the titles of the CDs. So, she organised for me to receive two CDs a week! She chooses them for me, and I either collect them from the library, or she will drop them off.” 

The arrangement has formed a special bond between the two, with Joan describing Penny as “very caring and thoughtful.” 

“The library closed over Christmas break, so Penny kindly doubled up on my number of books - I left with bag loads! I had a rapport with her as soon as I walked into the library. Some people you just take to.” 

Not-so Guilty Pleasures! 

Over time, Penny would get to know what kinds of books Joan would like. And there’s a favourite when it comes to genre! 

“I like crime, and I love a ‘Who Dunnit!’ I also enjoy biographies and autobiographies too, but mostly true crime. 

I’m looking into reading Harry Potter at the moment. It’s very well written, it’s not just for kids! JK Rowling writes crime novels as well under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, they’re very good too. 

I also like historical novels, like Hilary Mantel’s ‘The Wolf Hall Trilogy’ which is about Henry VIII.” 

And her most loathed books? 

“I don’t like soppy novels, you know, where you read the first page and you know straight away what it’s all about? I don’t like silly stories. 

After a while you realise that there are authors, and then there are people that just write books.” 

An Insight into the Life of Joan 

Joan was born during the Second World War in Northern Ireland, in a small town called Downpatrick. 

“It’s quite famous actually,” explains Joan, “It’s said to be the resting place of St. Patrick himself.” 

“I remember as a young child hearing the sirens and bombers flying overhead. They weren’t targeting us though; they were flying to the shipping yards in Belfast. I can remember the Americans coming too, they were stationed just outside our camp.” 

Joan went to a boarding school in Wesley, Dublin, and although she wasn’t overly religious, she would often go to church three times on a Sunday! 

“If you weren’t lucky enough to be invited out for tea then you had to go to church!” She laughed, “I enjoyed school though, and Dublin was a nice place to be.” 

Joan left Ireland in 1962 and moved to New Zealand. She worked in the Health Department, and later for The Bank of New Zealand. She lived the Kiwi life for 20 years before making the move to Australia where she worked in the Education Department. Joan has two children, her daughter, ‘Joanie’ and two sons, Keith and Russell. 

Favourite Pastimes 

Back then, Joan enjoyed playing golf - a sport that she played right up until a few years ago. These days she enjoys sewing, machine embroidery, and all sorts of handicraft work. But her greatest passion? Books. Her love affair with reading began back at boarding school. 

“On a Sunday night we’d sit around the fire and one of the teachers would read a couple chapters from a book,” remembers Joan. 

“I started going to that school when I was seven, so that’s when I realised how much I loved reading. 

I had favourites, ‘The Secret Garden’, ‘Anne of Green Gables’, and ‘Little Women’ to name a few.” 

SwanCare Living 

If you haven't seen Joan around, it might be because she hasn’t been with us for very long, having only moved to Bentley Park at the start of 2023. 

She told us that she’d known about SwanCare for a long time, and it was the perfect choice for her, not only because it meant that she was living close to her daughter, but because she could maintain some independence while also receiving access to the support she needs. 

“SwanCare really is wonderful, the whole area is lovely, and it’s nice knowing I can get help if I need it. 

My neighbours have been very good to me. Often, I’ve had to turn to a neighbour to read the best before date on fridge food as I can’t see it! It’s those little things that make a difference.” 

Your knowledge on books is so impressive, Joan. Thank you for being part of our SwanCare community, and kindly letting us share a story of your own! 


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