The Village News – Autumn 2016

Welcome to our 33rd edition of The Village News

I wish all our residents, their families, our members and directors, volunteers and contractors a very happy new year. Health, happiness and success to you all for the year ahead.

I also wish to express my deep appreciation to all of our staff and their families for 2016. Thank you for the care and dedication that you demonstrate as staff members in your respective roles towards our residents and to anyone visiting or working with us at Allambie Heights Village Ltd.

We are a ‘people’ organisation and our attention to all of our people is what sets us apart from many of our competitors and is a main reason for our popularity and the reason that we are a clear choice for those residents and staff who join us.

We work with many different personalities, most whom are great and rich in their individuality and we work with some people and situations that can be challenging too, whether it is a resident, a family member, a staff member, a volunteer or a contractor who seek our assistance. Of course, we want to help where we can and we certainly do, it is part of what we are about.

I believe that most people now realise that our residential aged care facility has changed dramatically during the past 18 months in relation to the level of care that we are providing to our residents. I have certainly highlighted this in my past articles for this magazine. Our numbers of residents presenting with ‘high care’ needs and dependencies now represents the majority of our residents. Each day is different, each hour can even be different for some of our residents and for our staff. Therefore, I believe that readers will appreciate that residents are the sole reason that we are here. We need to respond to their needs on an on-going basis.

Family members and friends are and can be even more important in the future in assisting residents and staff in the contribution of care to each resident. Volunteers make an immense difference in the time, energy, interest, distraction and stimulation that they bring to the residents and to the whole environment of a residential aged care facility and to a retirement village.

So, I am making an appeal and a call to family members and to your friends as well as to residents of our retirement village to consider offering to our residents and to our staff some of your time each month as a Volunteer. You may think that you have little to offer. Wrong! Everyone has something to offer and we are the success that we are also because of our Volunteers. Please consider this seriously.

One hour a week or a fortnight can make a real difference. We will ‘buddy’ you up with another volunteer and we will support you along the way with the assistance of Virginia Stapleton, Recreational Activities and Volunteer Coordinator who is contactable at 02 9975 5800 or directly by email Volunteering is also a great way to get meaningful experience that can be used and valued in a work and social setting and it is great fun too!

I would also ask family members to be conscious of the demands that some make upon management and staff when visiting. The main purpose of visiting is to spend quality time with your loved one. However, increasing amounts of management and staff time is being directed to family members when it needs to be with the actual resident. So, please help us with this. Dropping in to see your loved one is great, please keep doing it, but expecting management and staff to stop what they are doing to meet with different family members without prior appointment does not serve us in what we need to do and it doesn’t serve the resident. This is a delicate matter that I am trying to communicate as sensitively as I can. Hugh amounts of management and staff time is being used in this manner and we still have all of the other tasks to do too.

So, please consider making an appointment should you need to see a member of the management or nursing team about your loved one. This is really good use of everyone’s time and allows for appropriate preparation and focus about those matters that need to be discussed. Thank you on behalf of all of our staff in considering this.

I have often referred to the wonderful longevity of our retirement village residents. Alas, the inevitable consequence of such longevity is that it is not limitless. It is with sadness that our residents, their families and friends bid farewell to some of our longest residing residents recently, to Heidi Sachse, Helene Sonntag with whom we celebrated her 100th birthday in January 2015 and to Erhard Gohl.

Both Heidi and Helene moved to our Village in the 1980s and indeed I wrote a past article about Helene to celebrate her 100th birthday last year.

I learned this week of Erhard’s passing. Erhard was one of the first residents I met when I arrived at Allambie in June 2006 in my capacity as Chief Executive Officer and he in his capacity as Chairperson of the Resident’s Committee, a role that he held just short of 7 years and over 2 periods between other Chairpersons.

It would be an understatement to describe that we had a ‘good’ working relationship in our respective roles. We respected each other’s position, our roles and our responsibilities. We respected each other as people. We met often over the years and always with focus. There were not many times that we did not agree on how to resolve a situation but in those very few situations, each of us put across our views and we listened to each other and ultimately we arrived at a common approach and solution. In this regard, Erhard represented the position of all residents in a fair and in a professional manner and he contributed immensely to the harmony that existed and continues to exist in our retirement village. Erhard and his wife Christa represented always care and love and giving to so many people, a wonderful couple appreciated by so many of us.

Erhard returned from hospital to our residential aged care facility on 25 January 2016 where we had planned to care for him. Unfortunately, we did not have the privilege to have been able to care for him longer. I enjoyed my time with Erhard, an intelligent, humourous giant of a man with a great smile and laugh, who loved his wife, his family, his friends, his food, his life and a good old challenge. A gentle man and a gentleman whom I will miss but am better for having known him!

And finally, I remind all of our readers to refer to the last 32nd edition of the Village News and to my article and to remember that it is Election Year!

Contact your Politician, Start Talking and Keep the Conversation Alive! Getting Older Affects us All!

photo-ciaran-foleyCiarán Foley
Chief Executive Officer

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