September 15, 2023

David’s Garden Patch Brings Joy

Having a little patch of earth to call his own has always been the key to happiness for ECH resident David. No matter where he has lived – from a Stirling house with an expansive garden, to a courtyard home in Frewville, and now at ECH Clutterbuck Lodge, in Lockleys, with “a little patch” – David has maintained his avid interest in gardening since his early 20s. “I’ve always had a range of vegetables, and I’m a keen fan of European and North Asian plants, camellias and hydrangeas,” David says. “When I lived in Stirling, I had more than 70 azalea plants. They like acidic soil, so the soil in Stirling was perfect for them. “Now at Clutterbuck Lodge, I have a little patch; it’s small but manageable and I have that all to myself. I have a mixture of plants such as annuals, three different groundcovers that flower and new miniature Bougainvilleas climbing on the brush fence, and I plan to experiment with baby tomatoes.” David’s love for gardening has extended beyond his little patch in Lockleys to the Henley Beach Community Garden, which he stumbled across in an edition of Keep Connected. The Community Garden is located at the front of ECH Day Program Henley Beach, 1/11 Laidlaw St, Henley Beach. ECH Clutterbuck Lodge resident David at the Henley Beach Community Garden “I’m learning so much from the team who tend to the garden; I pick up all kinds of information,” David says. The community garden…

September 15, 2023

Volunteering Rewards and Awards

Barbara and Jeannette’s contribution has seen them nominated and recognised by an Australian Government Volunteer Award. Here is their story: It is with their generosity of time and effort that ECH can deliver activities such as art, crafts, music, cooking and recreational pursuits such as indoor bowls. And it is as beneficial for the volunteers as it is for the recipients – they get just as much joy out of the experience. So say ECH volunteers Barbara and Jeannette. A few years after Barbara moved into her unit at ECH Lewis Court, in 2007, she wanted to give something back. “With ECH, I’m very grateful for being accepted into the village and I felt I wanted to do something for ECH because they have done so much for me” says Barbara. ECH Lewis Court resident and volunteer Barbara Barbara joined a program, where for two years she took clients out for a weekly coffee or walk at the beach, providing them with company and a friendly face. Four years ago, she became involved in the weekly activities at the Cumberland Park Community Centre – or life, and I think if you’re reasonably lucky in life, you should give back to the community. Being at The Cumby every week has become part of my routine, it feels like a family atmosphere,” she says. Just like Barbara, Jeannette feels a sense of purpose and community spirit when she volunteers for the Life Stories as it is affectionately known…

September 15, 2023

Constance reaches a 20 year milestone with ECH!

We celebrated Senior Care Coordinator Constance’s 20th anniversary in July – marking an incredible achievement. Keep Connected sat down with Constance to learn more about her two-decade career at ECH. Tell us about your career at ECH  In 2003, I started working at the Henley Beach Wellness Centre as a receptionist on a part-time basis. At the time, my youngest son was a toddler and now he works with ECH in our call centre, Member Connect. Over time, I increased my hours and took on occasional projects, helping our home services and day program teams. Then I moved to the role of Senior Administration Officer overseeing administration services across five wellness centres, before spending a year in Retirement Living selling ECH units. My next role was in the Member Connect team, in early 2017, where I progressed to a Member Connect lead role. Most recently, I moved to be a Home Care Packages Care Coordinator in 2021 and I am now a Senior Care Coordinator. What does your job entail as a Senior Care Coordinator?  I provide support to my manager and I have a team of five Care Coordinators who I oversee. Our role is to coordinate the services that meet each client’s needs and goals. I also provide induction for new Care Coordinators, including training, mentoring and coaching. I support the team in ensuring our clients are receiving the support they need to continue to live safely and as independently as they can in their own…

September 14, 2023

RUOK? Day Message

RUOK? Today is the National Day of Action which reminds us that every day is the day to ask, ‘are you OK?’, and start a meaningful conversation whenever you spot the signs that someone YOU care about might be struggling with life.   On this day, let’s acknowledge the many benefits that exercise brings to supporting your well-being and reducing stress. Let’s consider walking footy as one idea which can help you connect with new people and have those conversations. It’s perfectly okay if you’re not already a budding Matilda’s soccer star or basketball enthusiast. There exists a variety of exercise groups and “social” sports leagues that prioritise social interaction over intense competition. The SANFL & ECH Walking Footy game, is a modified version of Australian Rules Football that prioritises enjoyment, safety, and inclusivity. This could be the perfect activity for you to take part in or simply attend from the sidelines, offering both a chance to play and a chance to socialise! Claire, ECH CE says, “While it remains valuable for our staff to grasp the advantages of the game, comprehending the social benefits of encouraging our clients to engage in a casual ball-kicking session holds equal importance.”   Matt, ECH Head of People and Culture, says, “We want everyone who works at ECH to feel they can talk about life’s ups and downs and access support if they need it.” If you’d like to learn more visit James, ECH’s…

September 7, 2023

One step at a time

For a few years, Helen had lacked confidence in her mobility due to her fibromyalgia – a condition that causes chronic pain and fatigue – and experienced low blood pressure and dizzy spells, leading to unexpected falls. Helen also hadn’t gone shopping, walked the beautiful grounds of the Elliot Gardens Retirement Village where she lives, nor attended the hydrotherapy pool, which she previously loved! But after referral from her Care Coordinator, Joanne in April last year, Helen met Chelsea an ECH Occupational Therapist, who has since given her a new lease on life. Working together, Helen and Chelsea set a number of goals. They started small, and gradually built to regain her confidence in doing the activities she once loved. “My first goal was to walk around the house. Chelsea set me achievable exercises to complete each day, including chair exercises and to practise walking up and down my hallway. She would check on me weekly, and having that contact, really made a difference,” Helen says. “Chelsea is an absolute sweetheart and very empathetic. I feel like she is my granddaughter – she is just so bright and encouraging.”   Helen practiced walking around the village gardens for the first time in 13 years, and she has returned to the hydrotherapy pool. Chelsea says: “We practised walking through Woolworths, which she hadn’t been to for two years. Helen was so happy the first time we went. Seeing her face enjoying life and doing things she once was able to do…

September 5, 2023

Augmented Reality captivates young minds and seasoned souls

In a heart-warming collaboration of young minds and experienced individuals, Year 5/6 Mitcham Primary STEM extension students connected with ECH Community Day Program participants in a bid to bridge generational gaps. The students connected with participants at the Cumberland Park Community Centre to breathe life into Augmented Reality games. Affectionately known as “The Cumby Crew”, the Community Centre is a partnership between ECH and the City of Mitcham, where activities are held weekly to engage older members of the community. At the centre of this transformative journey, a captivating STEM project was born with students creating games with older people in mind, over two terms. The students got to showcase their creations to the individuals who will benefit from their ingenuity in the future. ECH Chief Executive Claire Scapinello said creating these meaningful connections within the local community was essential to overall health and wellbeing. “Each week, the ECH Community Connections Team ensures bonds are built and friendships are formed to encourage participants to try new activities such as craft, macramé, art, sewing, cooking, gardening, or even music and dance,” Ms Scapinello said. “The significance of this STEM primary school project extends beyond the classroom. It underscores the potential of education not only as a means of individual advancement but also as a vehicle for cultivating empathy, understanding, and cooperation.   “The collaboration between young minds and seasoned individuals underscores the invaluable exchange of knowledge and experience that takes place when generations come together with a common goal.” The…

August 24, 2023

Gardens for health

The Adelaide Botanical Gardens says there are over 2,300 plants from 257 species which show the diversity of plants that have helped with healing the body, mind, and soul for thousands of years. Whether you're a home gardener, community gardener, or visitor, a garden can be that wonderful source of exercise, stimulation, and relaxation. With a little planning, garden beds, equipment and tools can be changed to make gardening accessible too. This spring, embark on a gardening adventure with us, as we share valuable tips, tricks, and new skills.   Create new and meaningful social connections by Summer with our small group ‘Get Connected’ programs offering something for everyone - like gardening for your health!   Gardening is widely recognised for its ability to enhance endurance and strength, lower stress levels, and promote relaxation. Simply being in a garden can instil a profound sense of well-being, particularly during the vibrant spring season when nature's beauty is at its peak.  The importance of cultivating vegetable gardens has evolved over time, but what remains constant is the incredible goodness that comes from growing your own produce. Consider, for instance, the diverse health benefits of various vegetables. Peppers have capsaicin, an anti-inflammatory compound that aids in reducing the risk of heart disease. Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and potassium. Spinach has the potential to bolster your immune system, while broccoli shields your body's cells from harm.  Use our new…

August 7, 2023

Thanks for supporting older Australians

Today, as we mark Aged Care Employee Day, it presents us with a great opportunity to begin a different discussion about what is aged care and what carers do? Given the extensive media coverage of the Aged Care Royal Commission over the past few years, the average person can be forgiven for thinking that aged care and how we live as we get older comes down to one thing: a nursing home, or residential aged care. This means aged care workers who are registered nurses, chefs, lifestyle advisors, and personal carers, just to name a few, all do an incredible job, however, there is a whole other world beyond residential aged care. Aged Care Employee Day presents us with an opportune moment to look at the people who work to support older Australians as they reach different stages of their lives – not age. This means how we change our lifestyle depending on what we need to help us continue living our best lives. Older people can continue to live fulfilling lives with the aid of the caring efforts of wellness workers and care support workers. We need to shift the mindset of getting older to focus on ‘stage’ rather than ‘age’ in an individual’s journey. We know from feedback received by the Royal Commission that most Australians want to stay living in their own homes as they get older. We aim to ‘think outside the square’ and innovate to support our clients at different stages of their lives.

July 26, 2023

ECH sets new five-year strategy amid shortage of retirement accommodation

Retirement living group ECH has launched a five-year plan amid a shortage of units that’s causing providers to rethink the way they support older Australians.

June 1, 2023

Keep Connected Winter 2023

Our Keep Connected magazine has been put together to help clients, residents and volunteers stay connected to ECH and the broader community. It is packed full of useful community stories, information and advice on how people can stay connected, exercise and nutrition tips and much more!   If you would like to share your story with us, please email…

May 31, 2023

New Bush Tucker Garden Fosters Community and Cultural Connections at ECH

Expanding cultural knowledge while learning about the health benefits of native flora has inspired the planting of a new Bush Tucker Garden, at Modbury, by leading South Australian retirement living and home care service provider, ECH. To mark National Reconciliation Week, the garden will be formally opened on 1 June with a tour of its edible natives and bush foods by Bunganditj woman Leanne Williams. This will be followed by an indigenous inspired afternoon tea for ECH residents and clients. ECH Chief Executive Claire Scapinello says the Bush Tucker Garden project is part of the organisation’s ongoing reconciliation and support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. “The idea for the Bush Tucker Garden came from our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Working Group, as a way that ECH can engage our clients and team members in our reconciliation journey, and for people to grow their understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in a multisensory way. “At ECH, we are a proud and inclusive organisation which encourages residents and clients to embrace cultural diversity and social connections not only through this project at our ECH Encore Apartments, but in all we do. “The garden has a large range of ornamental plants, fruit trees and native plantings, so we encourage residents and clients to take advantage of this opportunity,” Ms Scapinello says. The Bush Tucker Garden plants were selected by ECH Connections Lead and Horticulturist Mel Sanders and ECH Peer Connector Trevor Martin and sourced from Belair State…