A FIERY personality, a love for all things sweet, strong coffee, Tia Maria, and a self-described party girl, Latvian-born 107 Vera Liepa has thrown out the rule book on how to live a long life.
Mrs Liepa celebrated her 107th birthday with a party last week at the family home in Redcliffe, enjoying visits from family and friends and sharing many happy memories.
She is St Ives Home Care’s oldest client living in her own home.
Vera’s daughter Rasma described her mum as the life of every party, who loves good company.
“She plays the piano accordion, has a lovely singing voice,” Rasma said.
“She loves dancing and singing, especially the tango. She’s a flirt and a party animal. She always made her own clothes, which were very glamorous.
“Mum and Dad made cottage cheese and introduced yoghurt to the local area. Dad was a cabinet maker and would build most of our furniture.”
Mrs Liepa said she got a good husband because she had fun.
“Drink, think, dance and then you get a good husband.” she said.
Migrating with her two children and husband in 1949 post-war, the family began their Australian life in a migrant camp.
Though the family lived in the camp for only a month, camp living made quite an early impression.
Mrs Liepa, who speaks six languages, began learning English there.
“She learned her first English word – ‘bugger’,” Rasma said.
“She kept using it everywhere until someone explained it was a swear word.”
As well being committed to having a little fun, Mrs Liepa, who was still working well into her 80s, said working hard has also been an important part of life.
“I still work. I am still cooking and mopping and washing and I’m a good cook,” she said.
“I use my muscles and have lots of energy. When you are not working, you are good for nothing; a beautiful job makes you happy.”
Mrs Liepa has lived in the family home in Redcliffe her family hand-built in the 1950s and is passionate about remaining at home.
She and her family have been receiving assistance on a St Ives Home Care home care package since 2010.
Mrs Liepa support staff visit daily to assist with the more physical tasks around the home, as well as shopping and cooking meals.
Rasma, who travels two to three times weekly from Mandurah to assist her Mum, says without the extra help from a home care package, caring for her mum would be incredibly difficult.
Mrs Liepa is already looking forward to 108 and hopes to celebrate at home.
She has four grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.