Monday August 4 2014 01:34 p.m.
We have at present, and for some time now, experienced 100% occupancy at both our houses at St Francis Way and Mata Close with a waiting list of 36 prospective residents. Last year Mata Close had an unexpected extended period of vacancy which was a concern to our Treasurer and has resulted in Mata Close having a loss this year. Thankfully this is behind us and the likelihood of this ever happening again is very low, but it does remind us in all houses to have some contingency in the event of falling below 100% occupancy.
St Francis Way House has set up a refurbishment and maintenance programme following a comprehensive inspection of the residents' rooms. At present one room has been refurbished at a cost of approx $6000.00 and new net curtains for all rooms are to be installed next month. A feature wall in the house was redecorated and a new table in the foyer was purchased to enable a display of Abbeyfield literature to any prospective residents and visitors. The extra hot water tank installed last winter has proved successful providing sufficient continuous hot water for all the residents.
Mata Close House has had some expensive maintenance issues this year with the dishwasher being replaced, the oven having a major overhaul, the scooter shed roller door being replaced and a new dryer installed. These items were unplanned and stretched our budgets considerably, but no new replacements are on the horizon at present. Following the annual room inspections some minor repairs and maintenance has been undertaken. The house is regularly commented on by visitors and residents' families on how neat and tidy and well maintained it is. Mata Close House residents are a real part of the neighbourhood; participating in street BBQ's, Garage Sale, Birthday celebrations and shared meals. Residents of Mata Close were delighted to be offered free tickets to the "night of the Proms" concert by the Nelson North Rotary Club during the year. A Mata Close resident initiated an Abbeyfield Christmas Tree to be displayed at the Cathedral over the Christmas period showcasing the "Abbeyfield Way".
Abbeyfield Nelson attended the 2014 'Positive Ageing Expo' which drew a crowd of over 3000 visitors and 68 stall-holders. This gave us the opportunity to talk to visitors about Abbeyfield and we were delighted by the number of people who were already aware and had knowledge of Abbeyfield in Nelson. The Expo was a great inexpensive way to exchange information and network amongst other aged care providers and has given us a new vision of ageing as we face the future. We need structures which give older people opportunities to contribute their wisdom and skills to enrich society. The individualism of our times has contributed to a loss of the sense of community. This impacts particularly on people who are becoming more frail and dependent on others for support. New Zealand's baby boom generation is aging.
Improvements in life expectancy and the passage of the large baby boom generation into retirements ages will result in a burgeoning older population in this early 21st century. By early in the 2030's around 19% of NZ's population will be 65 years of age and over. This compares with 11% when St Francis Way house was opened 20 years ago. The expectations in accommodation for the older person will be far higher than at present and Abbeyfield will need the foresight and skills to support these expectations. This will mean different forms of design for our houses, different financial models and different management styles. Two weeks ago was the NZ Volunteer Week to support those who volunteer throughout the community but it is becoming more difficult to recruit the required personnel to benefit Abbeyfield. Our organisation is not the flavour of the month like Cancer, Violence, Health, or Sport. Will it mean our houses being managed by paid servants reporting to Societies? For Abbeyfield Nelson there will be challenges, but challenges have brought out the best in all of us, with the initiative, ingenuity and the capacity to innovate are qualities that will stand us in good stead. It should be a year of real progress.
Barry Mills, Chairman Abbeyfield Nelson Inc. 26th June 2014