News & Events

From the CEO

May 7, 2020

One of the most special days for my family is Mother’s Day. It is a time when we come together over a meal to celebrate the mums in our lives including those we have lost and the substitute mums in between. This year is different, we all know that. But that does not mean that it cannot be special and a day to enjoy.

Some of the words that spring to mind when I think about my mother and other women in my life are strength, compassion and gratitude.

There are many wonderful women, and of course men, in the OCAV community. Women are often the first to organise a meal, ring a resident, hand over spare wool, paint a fun picture to cheer people up, organise catch ups by skype…the list is endless. These acts of kindness are often random but they are always well received.

Here at OCAV we have been overwhelmed by the many emails and notes of appreciation that we have received as we work through the many issues that COVID-19 has raised. As you can imagine, there are no ready answers, information is often unclear, and the sheer volume is relentless. That said, common sense, compassion and a strong community will certainly have paid and will continue to pay dividends.

Coronavirus has certainly provided us with an acid test of reality. We are all aware that life will not return to what it once was. Social distancing, travel, sport, and the arts will all change. We can anticipate that technology will play a greater role in our lives. People often say we face a new normal, I suggest that there will be no normal for quite some time.

However, COVID-19 brings opportunities. We have seen the start of fresh and effective solutions applied to increasing social problems, such as mental health, a rise in ageism, unemployment and homelessness. Newstart has increased, apps for people to protect themselves from family violence and mental ill-health have been developed and funded. Hotels have been turned into homes for the homeless. All this is encouraging.

Here at OCAV, we are working on different fronts to ensure we are ahead in our planning for the future including providing homes for older women; developing well-being programs; and looking at ways to make all our villages energy efficient are just some initiatives. These plans involve input from residents, staff, as well as our Council.

I am delighted to welcome Dominique Horne to our Council. Dominique is a social worker working with Better Place Australia implementing Elder Abuse Prevention Services with The Orange Door. Her experience of working with older people with dementia and their family and carers will be invaluable as we continue our planning.

We continue to enjoy support from philanthropy. This month we received the welcome news that The Danks Trust will fund the upgrade of independent living units at Currie Park, and we have been able to let the Hazel Peat Foundation know about the far-reaching potential their grant to establish a children’s garden at Liscombe House. New applications are going to different organisations to establish a music program at Braeside Park, vegetable gardens at Rushall Park, and a retro dementia- friendly café at Liscombe House, among other initiatives.

I look forward to catching up with you one way or another soon. In the meantime, thank you for your compassion and strength.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers in the OCAV community.

Keith White, who had heart surgery two years ago, reckons he’s better now than he has ever been. He puts his state of health and well-being down to the life he has found at Currie Park, OCAV’s village in Euroa.

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