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Noeline and Ken love their village community

Written by Alan Wood
on June 05, 2020

Community-minded couple Noeline and Ken say when it comes to having a great network around you they couldn’t ask for more than Charles Upham Retirement Village.

They moved into the village in October and having settled in well then faced up to the impact of COVID-19. They say staff and Ryman Healthcare have gone the extra mile in making sure residents have been well catered for. A series of food parcels were a welcome surprise.

“It was wonderful. The first grocery delivery was a big one. Coffee, bread, milk, biscuits - all those sorts of things. And each week we’ve had a sort of top up, of things,” Noeline says.

This was on top of wonderful meals, delivered each day, they say. They have enjoyed sitting out on their own balcony of their serviced apartment.

The couple have plenty of memories of life in the South Island, having been brought up and schooled in Dunedin, where they met, and later worked together and raised three sons on farms.

Ken says they started working on farms in South Otago, leasing a farm at Tuapeka West, before winning a Department of Lands & Survey ballot to find their own sheep and beef property in Te Anau where they farmed for nearly 20 years. A shorter period in real estate, also in the Te Anau region followed for Ken, and the pair were involved in church and other community organisations.

The couple relocated to Darfield, where Ken’s sister lives, before moving to the Rangiora village, close enough to one of their sons who lives in Christchurch. With mountain views and a semirural setting, they continue to find new aspects to village life they enjoy. It is a pleasure to walk about and see the well-tended grass and gardens looked after by the maintenance staff, Ken says. 

They are already looking back to some of the humorous occasions that occurred as the village adapted to the restrictions of COVID-19. One was playing a game of Housie out in the hallway, with a staff member busy calling out numbers. “Things like that the staff have done extremely well,” Noeline says.

Ryman Healthcare’s COVID 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 residents.

Staff helped rollout Zoom to more than 3,800 devices, so that residents and families have been able to make those important connections.

Residents have enjoyed keeping on the move with hallway exercise classes, as well as getting out for some fresh air.

In Te Anau they had both had deep community involvement and are now enjoying getting involved in the village community. They have been part of the indoor and outdoor bowls crews, and taken part in other activities including playing bridge, using the village swimming pool and being part of the Triple A (Ageless, Active and Aware) exercise sessions.

The couple say they have found the village a different way of life but everything has fallen into place in terms of dealing with health issues helped by some great support. Ken says he couldn’t praise the staff enough.

“You couldn’t speak highly enough of them. They’ve been wonderful, wonderful. I’ve had one or two little problems and no matter who the staff member was, they were there to help, there to listen. They’re great listeners.”

Sales Advisor Wendy Kappler says now is a great time to come into the village to take a look at the available serviced apartments. “It’s been fantastic the amount of interest that’s been around.”

Residents in the village have been saying how well they’ve been cared for, particularly during COVID-19.”

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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