A free box of essentials, hallway bingo, happy hour in a bag, assistance with buying medication, the Zoom app uploaded on all devices and an incremental wage rise for staff are just some of the things that Ryman Healthcare has introduced for all their retirement villages throughout New Zealand during the pandemic lockdown.
While most people speak of doom and gloom when it comes to the elderly caught in a Covid-19 lockdown, residents of Ryman Retirement Villages seem to be happy campers.
One of the residents couldn’t stop talking about the kind of care and pampering they have been getting during a dark time that had given people plenty to grapple with. “We’ve been spoilt silly,” she said.
The 72-year-old said life was good with the village going the extra mile as they provided all residents and employees with a box of staples and a lot more that would last a month.
Who wouldn’t be happy with their favourite tipple and nibbles waiting at their doorstep? It makes up for the weekly happy hour they are missing out on.
While visiting the village cafe may not be an option, there are packets of tea and coffee delivered to all apartments, along with a regular supply of bread, milk and biscuits.
Interestingly, the gift hampers were given to residents as well as all employees across Ryman Healthcare’s 32 villages in New Zealand and two in Victoria.
Recognising the critical work that staff have been putting in during this difficult period, there has been an increase in wages for the duration of level 4 lockdown. Staff also get free meals at work.
The villages, which are home to more than 3000 care residents and more than 8000 independent residents, has rolled out Zoom on 3800 devices and are providing additional devices so families can keep in touch remotely.
A Triple A Fitness class in the hallway with social distancing in place in gets everyone moving their arms around. They’ve also introduced ‘intentional rounding’ which means the staff go out of their way to give residents personal attention.
However, when it comes to safeguarding the high-risk category residents they house, no one apart from essential service personnel and staff are allowed to enter the village
David King, manager corporate affairs Ryman Healthcare, says, “Basically, we shut our villages on March 16 to all non-essential visitors with the aim of creating safe havens for residents. The staff have been conducting welfare check calls and arranging counselling for anyone struggling. The idea is to supply, arrange or deliver anything our residents need during the confinement period.”
The Bruce McLaren Village at Chapel Rd has also arranged for a two grocery deliveries a week from Bidfood.
Arrangements have been made to deliver any groceries and essentials from the families of the older adults directly to them by the security team at the front gate.