Advocate for the elderly dies


A crusader for the elderly in South Canterbury has died.

After many years of service as a nurse and advocate for the elderly, Ailsa Bailey died on July 31, aged 87.

Mrs Bailey was born in Sydney on July 17, 1925 and started nursing with the Australian Women's Land Army in 1942. She trained as a nurse at St Luke's Hospital in Kings Cross, Sydney, from 1943 to 1947, before, in her words, she "sold my birthright and married a New Zealand soldier just after the war".

She and husband Roy moved to Auckland where Mrs Bailey worked as a night sister in a private hospital. The couple had two daughters and two sons and later moved to Timaru, where in 1963, Mrs Bailey began work at Talbot Hospital as a geriatric nurse.

In 1974 she had geriatric nursing training in Australia and in 1981, became principal nurse at Talbot. She retired in 1987, after 23 years at the hospital where she was meant to relieve for only three weeks.

In 1978 Mrs Bailey became a Justice of the Peace and she received many accolades, being named the New Zealand Nurses Association nurse of the year in 1988, receiving a commemorative medal in 1990, an OBE in 1992, a suffrage medal in 1993 and a senior achievers award in 1995.

Mrs Bailey also has a wing at Strathallan Lifecare and a dahlia seedling named after her.

She held many roles within the National Council of Women and also carried out voluntary work for the nurses association, Citizens Advice Bureau, IHC, Age Concern, South Canterbury Women's Wellness Centre, Victim Support, Women's Refuge and the Bereaved by Suicide Support Group, alongside her advocacy and academic papers on issues faced by the elderly.

She was a member of the Timaru Hospital chaplaincy committee, and Woodlands St Methodist Church and was the South Canterbury representative to the Methodist Synod. She is survived by her sons, Graeme and Bill, and daughter Mary Baker.

The Timaru Herald