Life is a journey and every stage in ‘life’s journey’ brings change. How we make preparation for these changes will determine if we travel comfortably and arrive at a good place.
Modern families are spread out, often on a global scale. In the past grandparents have played an important role by helping to maintain the home and especially helping with child-minding within an extended family-hub. Today many working families move town every three-to-five years and both parents (and often single parents also) are working full-time. Subsequently there has been a breakdown of the traditional family and today the extended family is no longer there to provide care for its aged or disabled members.
Recent changes to Government policy means that now there are support and care packages for people needing assistance to live at home. In many cases this means that older or disabled Australians can receive help to stay in their home for the remaining years of their life, even when they live alone. The other alternative is to enter a retirement home.
To discover what is available for older members of our community I visited Warrina Innisfail. I was met by the Chief Executive, Peter Roberts. Peter walked me around the beautifully-kept gardens of Warrina and as we walked Peter greeted the residents we passed with a friendly smile, by their name and said “hello,” sometimes even a joke. We walked through the residents village and out to the lakes, with the view being outstanding. Close by an Ibis was turning over the compost in a bin and a kookaburra in the distance ‘laughed’ in a tree.
We walked back over a little bridge and met Warrina’s gardener Hans who proudly showed me his spectacular hibiscus blooms. To Hans this is not a job it is a labour of love. As I walked around Warrina I felt that the atmosphere was more like a big family home. Peter had somehow put the ‘home’ back into Warrina.
I asked Peter how Warrina had its links to the community of Innisfail. He explained that a “Mother’s Club” meets at Warrina every week. “This really brightens us up” Peter said “It’s great to have little children’s laughter singing out across our lawns.” I noticed the visitor’s car park was full when I arrived. “Yes,” Peter stated “we have lots of travellers and families visiting and we really welcome them. Our big event of the year is Warrina annual cent sale, and the residents use their skills to make items to sell to the wider community. We also have special functions for Easter and Christmas.”
“Volunteers help in a wide range of areas especially with activities like music, singing, craft, cooking, dancing, gardening, bingo and much more. The Board of Directors also commit many hour of volounteer time on behalf of Warrina. We have a wonderful supportive Innisfail community.” Peter said.
I also discovered that residents help in the daily running of Warina: helping with organising events, gardening, laundry, kitchen and most importantly the general running and management of Warrina. Warrina is an interactive community of people and they get involved through committees and generating ideas through suggestion boxes.
Peter showed me the Warrina newsletter and explained that it was particularly important in keeping everyone informed. “Families, staff and residents can read about the events planned and read comments about past events. Through the newsletter residents can also keep track of staff initiatives” Peter told me. “We are truly blessed with staff that delivers excellence in aged-care services.”
I thanked Peter for his generosity in showing me around Warrina and lakes. I have seen that the Innisfail community is indeed fortunate to have a facility like Warrina. It is staffed by a skilled and caring workforce and furthermore is supported by a very large number of self-less volunteers from the Innisfail community. Well done all.