Beverley says living at Ngaio Marsh Retirement Village offers a superb lifestyle and she has loved making friends with fellow residents who form such a positive and interesting group of people.
She says it has been great that during the COVID-19 alert levels that the village community has thrived. She initiated walks with a couple of residents during what was a lovely extended summer-early autumn period. “People got out of their houses, walked sat and talked, it’s been a lovely atmosphere.”
Ryman Healthcare’s COVID-19 response began in late January with restricted visits to villages for people who had travelled to affected areas overseas.
Ryman’s aim has been to keep the virus out, protect those residents in care who were most vulnerable to the virus, and create safe havens for our independent residents.
Everyone seems to get on, and staff help newcomers’ gel, Beverley says. During her five years at the Papanui village she has watched the community grow from strength to strength. Everyone is welcomed, and she well remembers her own first venture to social drinks.
“The first time I went down to Happy Hour, you’re feeling nervous… then I went to one of the rooms and there was a massive poster there, and it said on the poster: ‘always be kind’.
“And I would say, I’ve seen that kindness so much at Ngaio Marsh. I believe that they are always kind. It’s a lovely, lovely place to live.” Family connections have been maintained.
As COVID-19 emerged staff helped rollout Zoom to more than 3,800 devices, so that residents and their loved ones could talk.
Residents have enjoyed keeping on the move with hallway exercise classes and activities like hallway bingo, as well as getting out for some fresh air. Ngaio Marsh’s social facilities include atriums, a bar, a bowling green, dining room, indoor bowls, a pool table and village centre.
When it comes to the swimming pool, Beverley says she loves being able to swim, joking she is ‘Esther Williams’. The Happy Hours at the village have “something for everyone”.
Beverley says she was brought up in her family home in Sockburn, “six miles from the square”, when it was more of a rural area with farms devoted to horse racing at the nearby Riccarton Racecourse. She later worked helping in the field of biochemistry at Christchurch Hospital.
She loves the fact that Ngaio Marsh has some nearby fields and that she lives in a townhouse that has an aspect onto Grants Road. The home has some large pieces of artwork on the walls, and she has plenty of room to display photos of her family.
She says the lockdown and security, brought in for safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, has drawn villagers closer.
“There were a couple of the other ladies that weren’t particularly interested in walking, and I said; ‘what about walking every day’, and they’ve come with me,” Beverley says.
“We’ve learnt a lot about the villagers and our village, which has been really good.”
Beverley moved into the village five years ago from Bishopdale following the death of her husband. She has sons living in Christchurch, Wellington and another that has worked on oil rigs around the world. She initially visited Ngaio Marsh with her sister-in-law.
“We came here one day to a lecture on diabetes, I put my name down on the waiting list, and when we were driving out we passed my townhouse and I said to my sister-in-law; ‘that’s the townhouse I’m having.’ Six weeks later Marie (the sales advisor) rang and said the townhouse is for sale, are you interested?
“I said I’m not interested, I’m having it.”
Staff at the village have always been kind-hearted, and never more so than during the period of COVID-19, she says. “I’m going to cry because we have been treated exceptionally. We’ve had our goodie bags, we’ve had Happy Hour bags, we’ve had grocery orders,” she says.
Sales Advisor Marie Kyle-Stevenson says now is a great time for prospective residents to come into the village to take a look at the available townhouses. Staff have been proud, that with the recent COVID-19 alert levels, residents have remained upbeat and commented on how well they’ve been cared for.