Making healthy normal 

It’s seems rather surreal that the English weather has followed me over to Australia with the worst rain in several years and a chance of snow on the hills! And whilst I thought having done my postal vote I’d have escaped the Brexit debates, I was wrong! Pretty much everyone I have had the opportunity to meet with over the last 3 days have been very inquisitive about which way Britan will vote on the EU today! It seems there is no escaping Great Britain down under. There are still traces of the Queens’s birthday celebrations, afternoon teas, and fish and chips!

It’s true to say that I have been made to feel very welcome and ‘at home’ by Andrew Larpent and all of his teams that I have visited at several Southern Cross care and retirement facilities. I have been very impressed with the kindness that is shown between the teams and a culture of caring for residents and one another. Whilst the scale of the developments cannot be compared with what we typically build in the UK the intention to provide person centred care is similar. I was very impressed with the variety of accommodation that is available for older people, particularly the retirement villas and apartments set in lovely grounds with views over golf courses, the river and the mountains. But the sites are huge as land is affordable and plentiful, in contrast with our small expensive plots where we have to build up not out!

 It was great to share ideas with one another and I was particularly interested to see how Managers are encouraged to be autonomous and creative and in doing so have produced some great examples towards engaging with their local community. Many sites have opened their club houses and restaurants to staff and care home families, whilst the care homes have created small cafes, hair salons and seating areas to welcome in guests including children. The area I was most impressed with and most aligned to in Belong is the creation of gyms with the employment of fitness instructors. Southern cross have 11 health and wellness centres in their care facilities and have found that 63% of residents feel more energetic and fitter, 82% feel stronger, 93% of residents feel their quality of life has improved. There has also been a 54% reduction in falls. This is impressive stuff and I can honestly say that every gym was in use and everyone was enjoying their experience. We even saw residents leaving ‘Happy Hour’ early to get to the gym! 

For those of you who follow Belong you will know that we have gyms and fitness instructors in our villages, however this has made me more convinced that daily exercise programmes for all is something we should be encouraging for our customers. And not just that….we need to link exercise with activity, healthy eating, positive thinking and social interaction. Health and Lifestyle definitely go hand in hand!

Today’s Churchill quote;

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts”

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