“I touched the wall and all my dreams, hopes and ambitions basically coalesced into one moment” – Duncan Armstrong on winning Olympic gold.
Friday 24th July marked the date that the world would have celebrated the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games prior to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
To keep the Games’ spirit alive, Kew Gardens decided to look back 20 years at Australia’s Sydney 2000 event, famously celebrated as “the best Olympic Games ever”, where many Aussie top athletes exceeded expectations winning many medals.
Not short on our own muscle power and a champion in ‘years’, we invited Centenarian, Professor Ron Taft, to officially open our Mini Olympics.
The Games kicked off with a torch relay around the corridors with many residents doing honorary laps with staff members joining in on the fun as well.
The sporting categories comprised of Golf, Bowls, Quoits, Table Tennis and Darts. The competition was fierce throughout all skills and our residents who competed gave it their all!
The famous five rings inspired a wonderful day of competition and prizes were awarded to our stoic athletes.
We concluded the day with an official closing ceremony accompanied by a sumptuous afternoon tea to reward our good sports!
Our residents had some musically-nostalgic fun recently and “Let it be” by recreating the famous album cover from the Beatles – Abbey Road.
On August 8, 1969, on a street in north-west London and almost directly outside a celebrated recording studio, this famous album cover was shot. Photographer, Iain MacMillan, took the photograph that would adorn the cover of the brilliant new record named after the street where he stood, Abbey Road.
The zebra crossing, almost exactly in front of the studio where The Beatles had created the vast majority of their body of work, was about to become one of the most recognised sites in London.
We recreated the famous scene in our parking lot just outside Kew Gardens Aged Care. The zebra crossing leads us back into our home and we find that equally as special!
All our residents who were Beatles fans ‘back in the day’ shared many laughs pretending to be one of their idols, as they sang along to the timeless hits.
Perhaps the most ironic lyrics that resonate for the year that is 2020 are: “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away / Now it looks as though they’re here to stay / Oh, I believe in yesterday”…
However, literally on a different note, we can also sing, “All you need is love!”, which never fails to remind us what’s truly important in life!
We know how challenging this year has been for our wonderful residents and their resilient families, as well as our own dedicated staff members. It has been a year like no other and one that has tested our ability to stay in contact with each other.
A silver lining has been that we are living in the age of modern technology with sophisticated IT platforms in place, such as Skype communication.
In the lead up to these current lockdown measures, we could congregate within ISO restrictions and chat with others outside of the facility. This allowed us to remember that – even though at a distance – we have the ability to laugh and talk with our loved ones any time we want to. It may be just a simple pleasure but at least we have it available to use right now.
As we fulfil the current lockdown procedures communicated to you on a daily basis this week, please remember you and your loved ones have access to Skype communication and we are here at the ready to help make it happen.
You can still have all those important conversations you would have had before COVID-19 imposed and there’s no need to postpone these discussions. However, in time, we shall return to the ol’ fashioned, face-to-face ‘chat’ but, for now, please don’t forget to embrace modern technology and remember that the Skype’s the limit!
Our Intergenerational Program also included monthly meetings via Zoom with retired Doctors, Interns and our Residents.
Last month’s July meeting comprised of three retired doctors, four Interns, our Residents as well as guest speaker, Professor Louis Roller, who did a presentation on “The Effects of Music on Wellbeing”.
Professor Louis Roller PhD, FPS, has been a pharmacy educator at Monash University since 1963. He was variously the Associate Dean Teaching (1992-2006) of the faculty, head of department of pharmacy practice (1992-2001), director of the bachelor pharmacy program until his retirement from the University in December 2008.
He has served on the Pharmacy Board of Victoria for 22 years and PSA Victorian Committee for the last six years.
He has contributed significantly to the last nine editions of the APF, as well as being on various writing committees of the Therapeutic Guidelines; the “Australianised” and upgraded large sections of Mosby’s Medical Dictionary.
He was the first academic to push for and achieve a more patient-oriented course of pharmacy. He has and still teaches varying aspects of therapeutics to pharmacy, dental, medical, podiatry and nursing students, gives lectures to various professional organisations and particularly CPD lectures and workshops to pharmacists.
He gives many pro bono lectures on issues of health-care and medicines to various University of the Third Age (U3A) groups.
Our Residents were very interactive during Professor Roller’s presentation and expressed how much they enjoyed the meeting this month. Thank you to Professor Roller for delivering such an informative and entertaining colloquium!
As a part of our Intergenerational Program, we previously had enjoyed the Davis Street Kindergarten visiting us here at Kew Gardens. The delightful children were involved in lots of different activities with our Residents.
Obviously, since lockdown, we haven’t been able to continue with these visits. However, to keep the new relationships flourishing, the children have been painting and making cards specifically for our Residents, which were dropped off at Reception.
In these tough times, it has given our Residents a lot of joy! Thank you Davis Street kids for keeping us company!
Many Residents have said lately that they’ve missed having a simple takeaway meal since COVID-19 impacted us.
We consulted Menulog and organised a special KFC lunch to be delivered, so residents could enjoy the secret herbs and spices, which made the brand famous.
Our Residents sat in the Al Fresco Café and enjoyed their mouth-watering lunch. There was nothing left on anyone’s plates!!!
Thanks Colonel Sanders for making our day :)
A year 10 student from MLC, Lola Tichabaev, is taking part in the ‘Knit a Square Challenge’ and asked our residents from Kew Gardens to participate.
The ‘Knit a Square’ challenge is a program that provides vulnerable and orphaned kids in South Africa with homemade products that will keep them warm. This challenge involves knitting 20cm x 20cm squares that will be transformed into various items like beanies and blankets for these kids.
The special project was embraced by Kew Gardens during this challenging time to help counteract the isolation period brought on by COVID-19.
Being in isolation doesn’t mean you have to be lonely and our wonderful residents were very keen to be part of this amazing project and keep themselves busy!
These are some potential benefits:
- Many Squares are knitted for the cause
- Kew Garden residents participate in something that will help the wider community
- Potentially a new skill or hobby for some residents
- Mental Health and physical fitness of the residents is increased
- Residents are kept occupied throughout this isolation period
- The Children in South Africa will have many more warm blankets!
We will be introducing many new initiatives and programs over the second part of this year, so stay tuned for some more exciting updates soon!
Dear residents, relatives and friends,
As we continue to navigate the challenges of COVID-19 within our facilities and our homes, we would like to ask everyone to stop and take a moment to check in on your own health and wellbeing and that of your family, colleagues and friends.
When facing uncertain times such as these, it is only natural to feel overwhelmed and it’s therefore important to check in on each other.
AACG Management would like to thank our wonderful residents and their families for their continued patience and understanding in regards to the COVID-19 restrictions.
We understand there has been some confusion around visiting aged care facilities at the moment and we appreciate your support whilst we start working back through the stages to our normal way of operating.
However, as you are well aware this is not the time for complacency and we must remain vigilant against the threat of COVID-19.
We are committed to following the safest practical measures possible in terms of our visitor access with certain procedures being implemented throughout our facilities.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our staff at Australian Aged Care Group Pty Ltd for their commitment and dedication during these challenging times.
I am very proud to have a strong team working at Kew Gardens and their combined efforts have ensured that every day has been a good one.
CEO – AUSTRALIAN AGED CARE GROUP PTY LTD
In my last message I said 2020 promised to be an exciting year for Kew Gardens. Now, I say be careful what you wish for!
Before the outbreak of COVID-19, we were enjoying wonderful visits from the kindergarten children visiting on Wednesdays, there were some lovely friendships starting to blossom between our residents and the children before we had to enforce lockdown rules. The kindergarten teacher has set up Skype, so that we can continue chatting with our new friends. The Alexandra Gardens was fundamental to the kindergarten visits, as well as the residents’ walks, and we are thrilled that they have finally reopened.
It is great pleasure to advise you that that we have welcomed Karen Millar to our team as our new Lifestyle Manager. Karen has worked tirelessly to adapt the programme which includes many new activities that were not part of the lifestyle calendar before. There have been Skype concerts with musicians performing music on the large screen, our residents have thoroughly enjoyed this just as much as if they were performing live at our facility.
We have also commenced playing bridge and bingo, which the residents have enthusiastically embraced.
I have remained in constant contact with families and residents over this challenging time. Their advice has been uplifting, supportive and helpful. Many residents have said that the maintenance of their relationships with their loved ones is most important thing to help them get through isolation.
We have put supplementary arrangements in place to support families and friends including Skype calls, window visits and compassionate visitation.
Many of the residents were bewildered and a little saddened about missing Anzac Day remembrance services at Kew Gardens this year. However, we endeavoured to assist them to remember in their own special ways. We had two services one on each floor on Anzac Day and many of the residents attended these to remember all the soldiers who had fallen.
We are all looking forward to better days ahead which I, along with our very patient residents, are sure aren’t far away!
Director of Care
Josie moved from Queensland in September last year and adjusted to life living in Melbourne and Kew Gardens. To prepare, Josie brought with her some warm clothes and a passion for Bridge!
Initially, Josie was able to play Bridge at the local Kew Bowls Club. She had met a number of lovley people this way and appreciated her new community.
However, when COVID-19 struck us, Josie couldn’t participate in her new found community, as social distancing rules were enforced.
At Kew Gardens, we were concerned for Josie as she not only had to adjust to a new life in Melbourne and Kew Gardens but do it whilst in ISO – a once in a lifetime event!
Thankfully, Josie shared her love of birds with us and Management thought finding some birds as pets would help whilst in lock down. Some very kind volunteers found us two beautiful Red Factor Canaries.
The Pet Shop was the last store to close and we were able to buy a bird cage and surprise a delighted Josie!
Many Residential Aged care homes use Pet therapy because it can:
- Alleviate symptoms of depression
- Reduce fatigue
- Decrease confusion
- Increase social interaction
- Combat loneliness
- Reduced stress
Josie says, “The birds have created a community atmosphere where many residents now visit the birds and me!” Often a number of residents are seen sitting with the birds and having morning tea together.
It has created new routines for residents and provided lively discussions about the care of birds.
The beautiful birds have become a focus for many of our residents (and staff too!) giving the special gift of companionship to all.
Mother’s Day High Tea
The residents commented that the food prepared for Mother’s Day celebrations was truly amazing and they loved the High Tea event.
We were lucky to be able to celebrate Mother’s day at Kew Gardens as our residents remained in extremely good health.
The Dads were also included and everyone really enjoyed the party atmosphere.
Mother’s Day Visiting
Obviously, this special event required a lot of planning this year in an effort to keep the residents and their families safe. To do this, we had a special screening made. It consisted of 110cm x 120cm perspex, which allowed relatives to clearly see the residents and maintain social distancing. It was used in conjunction with other droplet precautions, such as hand hygiene and masks.
Many of the visitors were happy with the arrangements that assisted them to see their Mothers on such an important day.
It was wonderful to see a group of Kew Gardens Residents mingling on a social Saturday recently (whilst still keeping social distancing in mind of course) by attending our regular Coffee Club meet ups.
However, our latest event was so popular that two hours later, the coffee tranformed into something more appropriate for the Happy Hour that was scheduled for later that day!
This demonstrates just how important it is that we keep one another connected and stimulated with rousing conversation and company!