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Tailored support helps elders enjoy the outdoors

Levin Home for War Veterans residents Colleen Plimmer (left), Gail King and Shirley Horn (right) enjoy a recent day out at Lake Dudding in Rangitīkei.


It’s well-known that getting outdoors can make a big difference to our mental and physical wellbeing, whether that involves enjoying a picnic with friends, a relaxing day at the beach or simply soaking in the sunshine at home.

At Enliven’s Levin Home for War Veterans and sister site, Reevedon Home, residents and staff have been taking every opportunity to enjoy those benefits, heading out to rugby matches together, Otaki’s recent kite festival, a grand picnic out at Lake Dudding in Rangitīkei, Wellington’s botanic gardens and more – wheelchairs and walkers in tow.

Reevedon and Levin Home manager Jenny Hodgen says that with the right support, there’s no reason for elders to miss out on the joys of fresh air.

“It can be more difficult to get out the door regularly when you get older, but most of the obstacles which elders face in that respect can be overcome with the right support and a little encouragement. Our recreation team put a lot of effort into making sure our outings are tailored so that all the residents are able to take part, whatever their age or ability.

“Newer residents sometimes worry about their wheelchairs, walking sticks or walkers getting in the way of enjoying an outing, but we let them know it’s no trouble at all. We just take those things along with us in the van.”

The homes’ focus on elders’ holistic wellbeing reflects their commitment to Enliven’s unique philosophy, which encourages elders to enjoy regular access to nature, seek companionship and take part in meaningful activity – it’s an approach which has seen the homes gain recognition nationally and internationally.

Levin Home for War Veterans is one of only a handful of homes in New Zealand to have achieved full registration with the internationally-recognised Eden Alternative. This indicates the home has successfully put into practice all ten of Eden’s elder-centred principles.

Reevedon Home, meanwhile, was recently awarded a four-year certification from the Ministry of Health, the maximum certification period on offer and a signal to others that the home is offering residents the best standard of care possible.

You can learn more about either home by visiting www.enlivencentral.org.nz or by calling them directly on 06 366 0052 (Levin Home for War Veterans) or 06 368 7900 (Reevedon Home).