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Enliven helps elders find their joy

Coombrae Home resident George Dudley, a former Navy chef, continues to indulge his passion for cooking at the Enliven home.

Many elders fear that advancing age means losing one’s independence and sense of self.

But with the right support, there’s no reason elders can’t continue to lead happy, meaningful lives, says Coombrae Home diversional therapist Rachael Trembath.

“There’s no question that elders can find it more difficult to do some things. Everyone is different and will have different abilities and interests.

“For us at Coombrae, in many cases, it’s about providing tailored support and getting to know residents to find out what really matters to them, so we can help them maintain a sense of purpose.”

Coombrae Home resident George Dudley seems a case in point. The former Navy chef gets around in a wheelchair these days, but that hasn’t stopped him continuing his passion for cooking at the home.

“I was talking with the staff one day about my time as a chef in the Navy and they asked me how I would feel about getting back in the kitchen, and I said I’d love to,” says George.

“That was years ago now and I still cook fish and chips for the other residents every week. It’s great fun and always brings back a lot of memories.”

Ensuring elders like George feel able to stay connected to the hobbies and pastimes which bring them joy is an important part of Enliven’s elder-centred approach, which is followed by Coombrae Home and sister Enliven homes, Willard Home and Brightwater Home in Palmerston North, notes Rachael.

“The Enliven philosophy is based on the internationally-recognised Eden Alternative care model and really stresses the importance of helping elders enjoy independence, meaningful activity and companionship.”

“To us, that means getting to know residents, understanding who they are, and finding out what we can do to help them enjoy life in a way that’s meaningful to them.

“Life after retirement is meant to be fun, after all, and we love seeing the residents here laughing, smiling and making the most of life.” 

Enliven’s Coombrae Home on North Street, Feilding offers rest home and dementia care, short-term respite and a day programme. To learn more visit or call 06 323 4491.