After 10 years of living in her own villa on the Pines retirement home property in central George Town, Olive Miller, the home’s first manager, has moved to the main residential quarters.
Her move on March 1 came after her doctor suggested it was not good for her to live alone. Ms. Miller said she suffers from macular degeneration of the eyes and problems with her balance.
She built the villa in the 1990s and leased it out for 15 years before moving in.
Ms. Miller said the villa will be remodeled and rented by April 1. The rent will go toward her living expenses at the home.
“They tell me it’s going to look beautiful but I don’t know what that means because it was quite beautiful to me,” she said with a laugh.
According to a Pines spokesperson, the villas are owned by residents for a maximum of 25 years or until they pass away.
Not at all disappointed about the move and seeming quite comfortable in her new home, Ms. Miller said, “It’s all good over here; the only difference is I have to conform to having my medication and meals at certain times, but I’m still allowed to go and come as I please.”
Throughout her life, Ms. Miller, now 95, has garnered much attention in the community for her good works. Known as the “Mother Teresa of Cayman” by many members of the community, the soft-spoken woman of God has made her presence known.
After traveling from England to Jamaica as a youth missionary for the Presbyterian Church, she arrived in the Cayman Islands. In 1946, she formed the Girls’ Guildry in Cayman, now known as the Girls’ Brigade.
Her accomplishments did not stop there. She assisted Reverend Gray in starting the first Cayman high school. She also received numerous honors from Britain, and was a founding member of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and the Pink Ladies.
These days, on Tuesdays, she makes home visits with her church; on Wednesdays and Sundays she sits with her friend Elizabeth Hurlston, who is 102, to play cards; on Thursdays she has a coffee morning with friends; and once a month she attends the NCVO.
“I still have a very active lifestyle, which is very good,” she said.
Ms. Miller says she combats getting older by keeping an active mind and getting involved in as many things as she still can.
“I am lonely sometimes but not very often. I have things to think about,” she said. “I also have a daughter and a granddaughter that look after me very well.”
She said at the end of this month, a “wall of history” which she has been working on will be unveiled at the Pines. She said she thinks the worst thing about growing old is when one’s memory goes.
“You don’t know who you are talking to, or who you married. I heard the story of the old man who introduced his wife to the lady he was going to marry. When your mind goes, that’s bad, [but] as long as you got your faculties, that’s all right,” she said with a laugh.
With her mind and memory active, Ms. Miller said she does not have time to be too lonely or isolated. She has a video magnifier reading machine, a television and a radio.
“It’s good to be around people, that is, providing you can still talk, think and be able to communicate,” she said. Ms. Miller’s biggest frustration is not being able to drive, but she admits it has an up side.
“When you see how people drive on the road today, I am better off not driving,” she said, citing the example of people who don’t know how to use roundabouts – “some don’t seem to know where they are going and all of a sudden, you just hear boom. They don’t put out indicators or anything like that.”
Ms. Miller’s faith is everything to her, and she says she would not be here if it was not for God.
“You can enjoy old age up to a point. There will be limitations but that don’t stop you doing almost everything you want to do,” she said.