How Dawn’s positive resilience has shaped her life and transition into residential care

Dawn has no regrets about moving into residential aged care at Heritage Epping. After a series of falls, she realised she couldn’t go home again. Following her transition into the Epping home, she’s been happy with her care. Dawn shares her transition experience including her remarkable, resilient life and career in nursing.

Safety and wellbeing

Dawn Pankhurst, 76, has been in full-time residential care at Heritage Epping since September last year. After hospital treatment, she entered respite care in July and was glad she went home after her second respite stay as it enabled her to spend three weeks with her son who passed away then. Subsequent falls saw her enter permanent residential care at Epping.

What shines through in talking to Dawn is her stoic, positive resilience. Her indomitable spirit has seen her overcome many challenges and setbacks, whether physical, mental and emotional. Dawn’s decision to move into permanent care – made with her daughter Rebecca – wasn’t an easy one, but she understood that it was the best thing for her ongoing safety and wellbeing.

Making the adjustment

For Dawn, one of the big worries about entering permanent care was leaving her valuable possessions at home. “Now the house is being sold,” she says, “it’s about knowing what possessions I can take and what I can’t.” She was very relieved when Rebecca agreed to take her cat, Stormy. With Stormy also in safe care, Dawn made sure the porcelain cat she made in ceramics class was high on her list of items for her new home at Epping.

A big part of Dawn’s successful transition into permanent residential care is due to the strong support she’s received. “I’m lucky my daughter is supportive and that I get good care at Heritage Care,” Dawn says. I love the activities and the food, but sometimes I also like quiet time for reading.”

A big part of Dawn’s successful transition into permanent residential care is due to the strong support she’s received.

From small town to big city

Dawn grew up in the tiny town of Piangil near Swan Hill, as one of six children. She moved to Melbourne in her early twenties to train in midwifery at the Royal Women’s. Later, she studied at The Royal Children’s Hospital and worked in its cancer ward where she’d sometimes carry kids on her hip during ward rounds as visiting hours were much more restricted then. In 1972 she married Edward (see picture) and had two children. Her husband passed away seven years ago.

Dawn has no regrets about moving to the city but treasures her memories of country, family, and childhood. She shared a remarkable story of a hot day swimming in the Murray as a kid. Her father told her to “get out now” as he’d spotted twin snakes swimming with their heads above the water!

Attentive, tailored care at Heritage Epping

Dawn’s positive resilience has seen her overcome falls, family tragedy, and swimming snakes. As a new full-time resident, she appreciates the quality of her care and the clinical and lifestyle staff, the amenities at the Epping home, and the Lifestyle activities, 90% of which she attends.

Residence Manager Julio Castillo brings strong leadership and clinical governance to Heritage Epping, ensuring high quality care is provided to residents. “Aged care is one of the best places you can live when you get to a certain age,” Julio says. “It’s just like your family – a wonderful multicultural environment where you can be friends with everyone. That’s amazing to be honest with you.”

Learn more about Julio Castillo

New Residence Manager Julio Castillo Strengthens Leadership at Heritage Epping Aged Care Home

Learn more about Heritage Epping

Heritage Epping Aged Care lounge room overlooking wetlands


More about Heritage Care

Each of our 11 homes in Victoria and New South Wales offer high quality respite accommodation so both carer and resident can achieve the 3 Rs of wellbeing: Rest, Recharge and Recuperate.






Finding the right residential aged care provider in Melbourne’s North has been made a whole lot easier thanks to Heritage Care’s progressive approach to operating three aged care homes located in Epping, Northcote and Reservoir. While each has its own style, amenities and community culture, they are all guided by our care philosophy to deliver the highest standard of care possible. Learn more


NOTE – main photo above is a stock image as Dawn’s image was not available at time of publication.