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Couple say Covid-19 prompted closer community bonds

Written by Maryvonne Gray
on May 26, 2020

Ryman treats make lockdown sweeter for Jo and Peter

When Murray Halberg residents Jo and Peter Moore got word that their retirement village was going into lockdown they understood very well why the strict measures were taken.

The Lynfield village was one of Ryman Healthcare’s 34 New Zealand villages that closed its doors to visitors weeks before the government put the nation into lockdown. With all its residents being 70- plus, they had been identified as the age group most at risk from Covid-19.

“I was stationed in Hong Kong and we were travelling to Singapore during the Sars outbreak so we knew we had to take it seriously and there was no mixing and mingling,” says Peter, who used to work in law enforcement.

“Because of that we weren’t really worried or scared. Neither of us has any under-lying health problems and being in a gated community here we had that extra protection too.”

Ryman had put a security guard at the entrance to screen out non-essential visitors. All those who did come through had to have a temperature check and sign a declaration to say they weren’t unwell and hadn’t been exposed to anyone who’d recently travelled from overseas.

Residents were advised to stay within the village and staff stepped up the number of deliveries of groceries and supplies to reduce the need to leave the grounds.

“The treatment here has been marvellous, we couldn’t fault it,” says Peter. “They’d do the biscuits, milk and bread run every Wednesday and on Friday the girls would do a wine run.

“They’d knock on the door and we’d go out into the corridor to have a bit of a dance with them – but not too close of course!” he laughs.

Jo agrees wholeheartedly and says the team really helped keep everyone’s spirits up: “Ryman has done a fabulous job. The staff were always smiling and I haven’t met a single person yet where something was too much trouble.”

The couple said they could count many positives from going through the lockdown experience.

While they had moved into the village in December, they were both very busy helping their two daughters look after their five grandchildren and had only made it to a couple of Happy Hour evenings in the village centre and one fine dining night.

“Even then we would usually just sit at a table with our friends and so this lockdown has actually helped us meet and get to know more of our fellow residents,” says Jo.

“It gave us the kick in the pants we needed to start going for our walks and we found that we met so many nice people.

“I think the world slowed down a bit and we learned the art of being a bit more patient, smiling and saying hello and stopping and talking to people.”

When they weren’t making the most of the beautiful weather on their walks, Jo said the lockdown gave her the perfect excuse to spend lots of time knitting and crocheting to build up stock for the craft co-op she’s part of, Eden Room Crafts based in Kelston shopping mall.

“I have been having lots of fun!” she laughs. “I make baby wear, booties, hats and little ponchos and we sell them in the shop.”

While many residents had supplies dropped off to them by family members, for Jo it was the other way round.

Their older daughter is an essential worker as a branch manager of a logistics company bringing in safety gear for health organisations.

“I was making soups and leaving them at the gate for her to pick up so that way I knew she was getting a nice lunch and I would wave to her when she came,” says Jo.

There was one very special delivery that Jo had encountered but Peter hadn’t as it had happened right at the start of lockdown – their newest family member, baby Carlos.

Returning to Level 2 had been wonderful, said Peter: “We finally got to catch up in person and I could have a cuddle with my new grandson!”

Adds Jo: “Seeing the grandchildren again was really great. They came running up at 90mph for hugs and it took ages to let go, it was beautiful.”

Now they’re looking forward to returning to Happy Hour evenings in the village centre.

“We’re ready to break out of the bubble!” laughs Jo.

Sales Advisors Lucy and Taryn say now is a great time to come into the village to take a look at the available apartments.

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.

Media advisory: For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Group Corporate Affairs Manager Silke Marsh on +64 27 294 3609 or Communications Advisor Maryvonne Gray on 027 552 0767.

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