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COVID-19: Ryman helps Andrew so he can help residents

Written by Margot Taylor
on April 02, 2020

Nellie Melba Retirement Village activities assistant Andrew Fraser says when he leaves for work each morning, he can’t help but feel “immensely fortunate”.

Until three weeks ago Andrew worked as an audio-visual technician at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), however like thousands of others, his ability to work was stopped by COVID-19.

“I was a casual worker, but up until the spread of COVID-19 that had not been a problem.

“When I was told a few weeks ago MCEC had to temporarily close I was so stressed by the fact my household would have to somehow survive on one income.”

Andrew's partner works for Ryman Healthcare, and when the company heard he was unable to work at his normal workplace they stepped in to help.

The restrictions required to prevent the spread of the virus meant Andrew’s technological know-how could be utilised at Nellie Melba.

“I’ve gone from working with technology on a large scale for events, to teaching residents at Nellie Melba how to use their devices to keep in touch with friends and family during this challenging time.

“It involves a different kind of interaction with people, and I’m really enjoying that.

“Sometimes it can be just the smallest thing, like showing a resident how to use Skype, but I’m learning that can mean a lot to them, which is so satisfying.”

Andrew is also busy helping to ensure valued activities including Triple A exercise classes and Happy Hour can be adapted to fit social distancing requirements.

“We’ve been setting up the public address system so residents can get out on their balconies and do the Triple A exercises.

“Joining in on that class and doing the YMCA with everyone was a lot of fun!”

Other initiatives being worked on by the activities team include showing residents how to use internet banking and programming entertainment appliances so the many “movie buffs” can enjoy working through impressive DVD collections, he said.

“Whatever we can do to utilise technology to help residents live more comfortably in this COVID-19 world, we are doing.”

His new job was “the best thing” to have come out of the COVID-19 situation for himself and his family.

“Every day when I go to work, I think about my workmates from MCEC who don’t have jobs at the moment and I feel immensely fortunate.

“My family and I are incredibly humbled that Ryman has employed me during this time, and it is great to be using my skills to make life easier for residents at Nellie Melba.”

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