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A place to call home

Written by Ruthea van Heerden
on November 13, 2019

For Lois, Essie Summers Retirement Village has proved to be the best place to be.

The hospital resident enjoys her sunny room the most and loves the fact that she has the choice to go out and about with other residents on van outings or spend a quiet afternoon in her room.

Lois got married in 1965 and helped her husband Tom on their Marlborough property, Kilkishen Farm. The couple raised their three children Steve, Kevin and Louise. They also farmed sheep and cattle, which made for a busy life, her daughter Louise says.

Eventually the children were sent to boarding schools in Christchurch.

“They lived on that farm for 50 years, my mother was loved in the community, she helped out on the farm, kept chickens and had a big garden,” says Louise.

“My father died in 2008 and she lived on the farm for ten years after my father’s passing. Eventually she became too frail to live alone.”

So, mother and daughter decided a move to Christchurch to be near family, and they set about looking for a place that suited.

“I needed a place to do things and go on bus tours but still have a quiet place to rest,” Lois says.

They visited a few places before deciding on Essie Summers. The clincher for them was the atmosphere at the village.

“The staff are really nice, and the meals are fantastic,” Lois says.

“I like not cooking my meals,” she laughs.

She’s as active as she can be in the village.

“The activities are good, and I love the knitting group. We meet up once a week to have a chat.”

Her sunny room is decorated with photos of the farm and family, and little ornaments of birds.

“My room gets most of the afternoon sun, which I love.”

Essie Summers Retirement Village offers independent living and care options. Residents can live independently in a townhouse or a serviced apartment, and there is also a care centre offering resthome, hospital, and specialist dementia care.

Residents can relax or meet their friends in the village centre where the amenities include indoor bowls, a grand atrium, library, hair salon, and terrace.

Clinical Manager Melanie Asuncion says the team puts an emphasis on getting to know new residents to help them settle in.

“We try to know as much about our residents and their families. Each morning I do my rounds so that I can touch base with every resident. It’s not just about their health problems but their likes and dislikes. Our care plans reflect that.”

“It’s personalised care. A holistic approach to their social life too.”

“The Ryman difference for me is that we are family oriented and our villages reflect that.”

For Melanie it’s important that the staff understand how important kindness and friendliness are.

“It’s the basis of our care. It creates a friendly vibe which makes our staff approachable to everyone, and that’s essential for our work.”

Activities coordinators also tailor activities for the residents.

“For example, we have a resident who loves to read, so one of our activities with her is to have a book review with her every week,” says Melanie smiling. “And we make time for her for that.”

For Lois, Essie Summers has indeed become her home.

“I do like the social life at the village,” she says, “but my favourite thing is that the staff are kind. You can’t ask for more than that.”

And for her daughter seeing her mum’s health improve means the world.

“She’s made a remarkable recovery and it means the world to me.”

About Ryman Healthcare:

Ryman was founded in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The company owns and operates 45 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia which are home to more than 13,900 residents and the company employs 6,800 team members.

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