First-hand experiences of the 'love', care and sense of community felt by Ryman Healthcare residents and families were shared with people attending public meetings about the company’s new Aberfeldie retirement village.
Residents, and children of residents, from Ryman’s Nellie Melba village in Wheelers Hill, discussed their experience of the company with others considering making the move.
Bob Barclay, who was one of the first people to move into Nellie Melba with his wife Veronica, told the audience he knew the decision-making process they were going through.
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“Veronica and I have been where you are today, considering the same things,” he said.
Before signing on the dotted line, the couple sought financial advice and discussed the contract with their lawyer, he said.
“My solicitor said to me ‘I’ve never seen a contract that was so easy to understand’.”
Now, more than two years after moving into the village, Bob and Veronica are still “enjoying every moment of it.”
The couple use amenities like the bowling green and pool, as well as organising monthly church services and attending Fine Dining events in the village centre, he said.
Manjula Nadarajah, whose father Middleton lives in a serviced apartment at Nellie Melba, and whose late mother Indy received high care and palliative care from Ryman, said her parents lived in an “amazing, amazing facility”.
Manjula Nadarajah shares her experience of having parents at a Ryman village.
“If I could use one word to sum it up it would be ‘love’ because even when you’re just walking through the doors and checking the place out you can feel it,” she said.
“If you yourself are looking to go into the Aberfeldie village, or your family member is, know that they/you will be completely loved and taken care of.”
Ryman’s continuum of care enabled her father to remain “fairly” independent in a serviced apartment while receiving any support he may need, as well as being a walk away from his wife, Manjula said.
“Ryman is an amazing, amazing group,” she said.
Dana May said her father, Len Thomas, moved into the village during the COVID-19 lockdown after it was recommended by a friend with experience as an aged care operator.
“Ryman are extremely proactive,” she said.
“It’s like they are a step ahead of the government, they had lockdown in place before the government, and they are constantly communicating with us.”
Dana May, daughter of Nellie Melba resident Len Thomas.
Ryman Healthcare Victorian Operations Manager Paul Sutton said other steps to maintain the villages as safe havens included the purchase of more than $50 million in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and having staff move into villages.
As well as safety and security, Aberfeldie village residents would enjoy first-class facilities, activities and events, Paul said.
“We build activities and amenities to make sure when residents come to us, they really have opportunities to meet other people and continue enjoying life and experiencing new opportunities.”
Upon completion the Aberfeldie village will include 73 aged care beds, 27 serviced apartments and 64 apartments, as well as a cinema, bowling green, indoor pool, gym, library, café and bar.An artist's impression of the Aberfeldie village.
The two public meetings, held at the Moonee Valley Racecourse, were led by Victorian Sales and Community Relations Manager Debra Richardson, Paul Sutton and Victorian Community Relations Team Leader Denise Thompson.
They outlined Ryman’s 37-year history, explaining what life at a Ryman village offered residents.
They then took questions from the floor.