Sociable golden years
When Lyn Wellington, the manager of Rawhiti Lodge Care asked me to write an article about this special rest home, I said I would be delighted to do so.
My mother, Pixie Dale, has been a resident at Rawhiti for a number of years and she considers it home. She is very fond of the 21 staff there who take care of all the residents.
Rawhiti is home to only 22 elderly people. It can take up to 24, but this is a small family-type rest home where everybody knows everybody. In fact, most people know everybody’s extended family too.
I breeze in and out of Rawhiti most days to visit my mother and I always get a cheery hello from others sitting in the sunny lounge.
My daughter and grandchildren visit often as well. The little kids run eagerly down the passage to find GG in her room. The grounds are big with beautiful gardens and trees.
Although Pixie calls Rawhiti home, she is often taken out by my brothers or me to our homes or to special events around town.
She certainly doesn’t feel caged in.
It makes me laugh when Mum’s response to ‘‘why don’t you read a book?’’ is ‘‘I don’t really have time – there are too many things going on around here.’’ And indeed there are. On a weekly basis there is Friendship Circle held at the Baptist Church. The hairdresser also comes on Wednesdays. More often than not someone at Rawhiti is celebrating a birthday which of course is an excuse for a party. Activities co-ordinator Sandy Orr arranges bingo, golf and special outings.
One day a van load appeared at our farm to see the newborn calves, and I know many people who live at Rawhiti enjoy driving the streets to look at spring flowers or Christmas lights.
Rawhiti interacts with other rest homes in Matamata too. They have games, competitions and plenty of laughter when they get together.
I like to pop in on them when it’s St Patrick’s Day and everyone’s in green or Melbourne Cup Day when everyone is dressed up to the nines with fancy hats. They all enter in the sweepstake too. I love being part of the fun.
Each month they hold a church service for those who wish to join in and towards the end of the month there is a happy hour.
As a former music teacher, I know Rawhiti is a favourite place for children to perform. The kids know they will be greeted with enthusiasm and made to feel talented and special. Jan Mott, the residents’ advocate, also performs fortnightly.
Because the residents at Rawhiti are one big family, there is a relaxed, happy atmosphere in their home. They hold residents meetings, their meals are all home cooked – morning and afternoon tea as well and they are treated respectfully as valued individuals.
If there are minor problems, one just needs to speak up and things are quietly put to rights.
When I become too old to live by myself, I hope to choose a place like Rawhiti to spend my golden years.