Ryman Community News


Ryman Healthcare COVID-19 update | 18 March 2020

Written by David King
on March 18, 2020

Ryman Healthcare COVID-19 update March 18, 2020

We’d like to thank everyone for your cooperation since we introduced new measures this week to guard against the spread of COVID-19.

We are in a critical period where we are doing as much as we can to protect everyone and make our villages into safe havens.

We are reviewing everything we are doing each day to make sure we are keeping everyone protected, and we have full plans in place in the event we get any cases of COVID-19. We have had none so far.

We have had a positive response from residents and relatives who understand the need to take precautions. A few of you have asked whether we are being too cautious and will cause social isolation, and we have plans to keep everyone engaged as best we can.

We would rather over-react now than do too little – we want to keep everyone safe.
As of March 18 our measures include:

  • We ask that all non-essential visits to village residents are put on hold. If you have a family member who is extremely frail or in palliative care you can still visit.
  • Essential visits for residents are where your loved one is unwell, and/or not visiting may cause distress to them or to you.
  • Non-essential visits are where you can postpone or get in touch by phone or Skype. The fewer visitors we get, the smaller the chance of COVID-19 infection.
  • All visits to care centre residents by children under 16 years of age are put on hold.
  • All group activities within the villages – including happy hours and Triple A exercise classes – are suspended. There will be no activity calendar for the moment.
  • All sporting and community events, including bowls and club meetings, are suspended.
  • We are adding a security check-in at our village gates, in addition to the reception check. The security check at the gates will be in place later this week.

Please keep in touch – get on the phone!

We will do everything we can to help you keep in touch during this period. The best way to connect is by phone, and we are looking at other ways to help people keep in touch.

So, for families – don’t be afraid to call your loved one to see how they are doing.

We will be providing additional services to keep everyone engaged and we will be in touch about these.
Please remember that we are here to help, and your village manager and their team are there for you.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with any concerns you may have.

How do we keep COVID-19 out?

Our best defence remains:

  • Staying away from our villages if you are unwell or need to be in self-isolation. If you have been unwell, you must be symptom-free for 48 hours before visiting
  • If you live in a village, avoid gathering in groups and person-to-person contact as much as possible
  • Practising good hand hygiene – that is, washing hands regularly with soap and water, and cleansing with hand sanitiser.
  • Coughing or sneezing into tissues or elbows.
  • Avoiding shaking hands or unnecessary contact.
  • Practising social distancing – staying at least 2 m away is safest.

Questions and answers
We have answered many questions since the changes were made and we thought it would be good to provide you with this Q&A for your information.

Resident questions:

I am an independent resident in my 80s, can I still shop and go to my volunteering commitments?
You are free to come and go as you choose, but we strongly suggest that you limit person-to-person contact and practice social distancing as recommended. Supermarket shopping is fine – it is easy to keep your distance. We would not recommend you continue with volunteering for the moment for your own safety. It is very important to practise good hygiene.

Are we in lock down?
We are not in lock down, but we have stopped large communal events, group activities and we have restricted visiting to essential visits only.

I have a doctor’s appointment next week – should I still go?
You should if you need to. We suggest you should ring your doctor, they might be able to help over the phone.

My son is my main support, he visits three times a week with my shopping. Can he continue to visit?
Yes. We would suggest he visits once a week and phones you at other times.

Can my grandchildren visit?
We would prefer that visits from children are restricted for the foreseeable future. This is because overseas research shows that while children may not be affected by the virus, they are likely to spread it, and they will want to give you a hug. The exception is if the person is very frail or in palliative care and the visit is essential to them.

A group of neighbours is still gathering for meetings, and I have politely declined. Should they still be meeting?
One of the best defences is avoiding person-to-person contact. If the meetings can be postponed for the moment, they should be.

What about your staff? Isn’t there a chance they could get infected?
Our staff are having temperature checks and only coming to work if they, and their families, are well. They are fully trained in infection control measures and they know how important it is to your health to stay away if they are in doubt. We need them to stay well, and we are doing our best to ensure their wellbeing during this emergency.

Will your staff be paid if they have to stay away?
Our staff will still be paid if they are unwell regardless of their entitlements.

Can I visit or help other residents?
We think it is best to restrict visits for now. If you do meet other residents, practise social distancing – keeping 2m apart. We know you already have strong community networks, so the best way to help is to call your friends and neighbours on the phone to check on them.

Relative questions:

My mother has dementia and is in a special care unit, but she is well. Should I visit?
We’d recommend you ring your mum rather than visit if it is not essential that you see her right now. The best way to keep in touch is by phone.

My grandfather is very unwell, and we don’t have a crystal ball – we don’t know when we will see him again. Can we visit?
Yes. As long as you following our visitor recommendations regarding essential visits.

Can I deliver shopping to my mum who is an independent apartment or townhouse?
Yes, of course for essential items. You should follow all the other rules about hygiene, and do not visit if you are unwell.

Will I be able to visit someone who is frail or in palliative care?
Yes. These visits are welcomed as long as you check in and follow our visitor procedures.

My mum is independent and is getting visits from a district nurse. Can these continue?
Yes. The nurse must check in and sign in as part of the checking procedures for all essential visitors.

Thanks once again

Thanks to everyone who has been in touch.

We welcome any feedback on how things are going, and suggestions on how we can improve. We cannot over emphasise that we need community cooperation to keep everyone safe, and we have had great support – so thanks.

We will keep you updated in the coming days. Once again, please do not hesitate to contact your village manager or the team if you need help.
For more information you can access these websites online:

New Zealand Ministry of Health website:


For queries contact 0800 588 222 (New Zealand) or email humanresources@rymanhealthcare.co.nz



Gordon MacLeod
Chief Executive


Cheyne Chalmers
Chief Operations Officer

About Ryman Healthcare:

Ryman was founded in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The company owns and operates 43 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia which are home to more than 12,750 residents and the company employs 6,300 staff.

Media advisory: For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Corporate Affairs Manager David King on 03 366 4069 or 021 499 602 or Communications Advisor Maryvonne Gray on 027 552 0767.

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