It’s a happy community at Ryman Healthcare’s Margaret Stoddart Retirement Village.
Village Manager Merrin Jack says it’s the little things that make the difference. The boutique village tucked away in the heart of Christchurch is a beacon of light, and because of its size Merrin says that she has the time to get to know everyone.
Before Merrin took the reins as village manager at Margaret Stoddart, she was assistant manager at Ryman’s Rowena Jackson village in Invercargill, which is a much bigger village.
“As soon as you walk through the door here at Margaret Stoddart you get this nice feeling, a happy feeling. It’s the light I think,” Merrin says, gesturing to the windows overlooking the inner courtyard garden.
“For the residents and their families it is quite important that they know me. They feel comfortable that they can just come in and talk to me.
“The staff feel the same way. And as a manager it is important that my door is open to staff and residents both.”
For Merrin, communication is the key part of being a successful manager.
“I talk to my residents and I talk to my staff . I know it sounds cliché but being kind is important and I push that with everyone.
“The reason I like working for Ryman is that it is a genuine company. They genuinely care about taking good care of people.
“Everybody here is passionate about what they do. Carers are passionate about caring for people and the housekeepers are passionate about keeping the place spotless. And that’s what it’s all about.”
The village is located in Riccarton and although it is close to Hagley Park, the Riccarton shops, and the city centre, it is tucked away in an idyllic, quiet corner.
“While you are at the village you would never know of the busy surroundings. It gives you the advantage of both worlds,” says Merrin.
The village features independent townhouses, serviced apartments and a resthome set in beautifully landscaped gardens.
Residents can participate in indoor bowls, events and outings, read at the library, go to the hair salon or enjoy a meal with other residents in the dining room.
For Janice Wisker, a resthome resident, the boutique, homely feel of the village was what made her decide to stay.
“I was unwell and came here for respite care, and after six weeks I decided this was it,” says Janice.
She loves the fact that she is close to everything.
“I walked to the Riccarton shops the other day,” she enthused.
Janice says her family is also very happy that she is happy at the village. “I truly like being at Margaret Stoddart. I really enjoyed meeting the staff and fellow residents. I like good company and have already made friends.”
Janice also likes the fact that the residents get involved at the village. They attend shows and events together and this has brought them closer together.
Independent residents help out with activities at the village and even put on shows for the care residents.
One such show was a Cinderella Pantomime that was extremely popular with the audience.
Merrin says all this helps to shape Margaret Stoddart into the community that it is.
“We’re a little community, and we reflect back to the bigger community. We are a family.”