News & Events

From the CEO

April 8, 2020

As we enter April, we do so with Liscombe House in lock down and our villages far more quiet than usual as residents adhere to Stage 3 restrictions. This is an exceptional response to exceptional times, and I thank you for your understanding of the many difficult decisions we have had to make.

After weighing up the benefits of having family and friends visit Liscombe House for the health and wellbeing of their loved ones, we decided for the safety of our residents and staff we should close it for the foreseeable future.

While the doors may be shut, many of our essential functions and services continue. Our teams continue to work hard delivering social and lifestyle programs, nutritious meals, and quality nursing care; our village staff continue working to provide essential care and meals, and our maintenance and horticultural teams continue gardening and delivering essential and emergency services. We thank each of them for their contribution to keeping life as close to normal as possible. We are providing mental health resources and a counselling service to our staff, together with online learning about the virus.

At Liscombe House, we continue to run art therapy and other social activities but restricting numbers; all are being run in line with self-distancing guidelines. COVID-19 measures mean that our elderly residents are now more isolated than ever and we believe these programs are vital to countering the rise of anxiety and depression.

We know how important it is that residents remain connected which is why we have developed a number of ways in which residents can continue communicating with their loved ones,  This includes the use of technology and a bit of old school letter writing.

We are extending our ‘keeping in touch’ initiative to delivering a pen pal program between volunteers and residents. You can read about this new idea, and others, in this newsletter.

Our independent living residents are proving to be creative in coping with the new life we are all embracing. We have random acts of kindness happening in every village. Online drinks parties are happening, residents are learning new skills – like ballet and tap dancing – while others have resorted to retro baking, cooking up muffins, cakes, bread and other delicious offerings.

COVID-19 has not stopped us in our tracks. We continue to plan so we are ready for when we are able to come out of hibernation. Some of our achievements this year include:

  • Completing Stage 1 of our Children’s Garden which – when children are finally allowed back – will be an enormous asset to Liscombe House
  • Welcoming new residents into our state-of-the-art apartments at Leith Park and Rushall Park
  • We are advanced in the next stage 2 of our Leith Park apartments, which will help ease the desperate shortage of affordable accommodation for older people, including those who are vulnerably housed or homeless.
  • Installing veggie boxes throughout Leith Park, thanks to a grant from the City of Banyule. The boxes will enable residents to grow their own and enjoy the benefits of being outdoors.
  • Being asked to meet with Fiona Patten MP (now virtually) about our housing and financial model. Fiona heads up the Victorian Government’s inquiry into homelessness
  • Receiving a grant from the Estate of Ian Rollo Currie (via the Foundation of Rural and Regional Renewal) to continue our Virtual Reality research at Currie Park: this will resume when we can.

It certainly has been a challenging start to 2020, first the devastating bushfires and now COVID-19 and its impact worldwide. But the Old Colonists’ spirit is still very much with us all as we take up the challenges, finding solutions and humour along the way.

We are using Facebook to provide everyone with tips, factual information, and stories about our residents and the many different ways they are keeping active and well. Please do like and follow us.

For me personally, not being able to directly interact with residents, staff, families and volunteers across the OCAV community has been really difficult and I so look forward to the day when we can again.

May I take this opportunity to wish you and your families all a Happy Easter. Keep safe at home, stay well, and keep washing your hands.

Phillip Wohlers

Dorothy Clayton has felt very much ‘at home’ since she moved into Braeside Park nine years ago. Now, Dorothy, the village’s volunteer pastoral care worker, tries to ensure that others also feel a sense of belonging in the Berwick village.

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