Dina enjoys her very ‘useful’ life

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Dina enjoys her very ‘useful’ life

June 9, 2019

Dina Van Dyk promised her husband, John, before he died, that she would live a ‘useful’ life. She has certainly fulfilled that promise. In less than a year she has found herself safe and secure housing, established friendships and put her hand up to run the Residents’ Committee at Currie Park, OCAV’s village in Euroa. It hasn’t been easy, but Dina, at 83, is determined to make the best of her life, despite the grief of losing her husband.

Dutch-born Dina moved into the Euroa village last August after having spent much of her adult life living in Melbourne and in other parts of the world where her husband was designing hospitals, including one in the Middle East. At the same time Dina, a champion swimmer in Holland, forged her own career developing swimming programs for young children under five years, educating people in this method and writing books about it.

John died of a rare and aggressive cancer, but in his final months he and Dina looked for an apartment in Melbourne where she could rent, paying a long-term lease. The builder of the apartments went broke and Dina was left stranded.

Her sister found out about Currie Park and Dina describes the discovery as a ‘lifeline’ that she was thrown during a critical time in her life.

Since arriving at Currie Park she has had a hip and knee replacement, but is back on her feet, doing all the exercises she was prescribed. The support at Currie Park with meals, some cleaning of her unit and extra care, helped her back on her feet.

“I have settled in and made a lot of lovely friends. I have got involved with things because that’s what I promised my husband I would do. Live a useful life,” Dina said.

“When life gets difficult I think it helps if you are open to what might happen, even if it wasn’t what you expected. My faith has always helped me get through things too.”

Dina has already joined Euroa Probus and recently took on the leadership of the Residents’ Committee. She joins other residents for regular drives to a nearby nursing home where they visit and play cards with a former resident, Iren Miskolczy

“When I first came here I was feeling very vulnerable and filled with grief over my husband’s death and Iren and the other ladies have been a great support to me,” Dina said.

Dina participates in whatever she can at the village, but said keeping fit takes up a lot of her time, as does reading, especially Roman and Egyptian histories.

“I never imagined I would end up living in a country town in Victoria and I do miss my friends, but this is a very good place for me to be.”

Sanctuary is how artist Gillian Coates describes her home at Currie Park, OCAV’s village in Euroa. “When I go to Melbourne and I am heading back to Euroa, I can’t wait to get home to the peacefulness of this place. It is like a sanctuary for me."

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