Elphin Lodge – healthy bodies, minds and souls
Downsizing and moving to a retirement village can be a life-changing event. Often, people stop work at this stage of their lives and no longer identify themselves as CEOs, teachers or bankers.
Their days may suddenly be much emptier – heaven in the beginning but unsettling after a while.
Ageing brings with it more chronic health conditions and general aches and pains and older people may find they no longer have the energy to drive here, there and everywhere.
These challenges are even greater if a person is no longer able to live independently and needs to move into a care centre.
Fortunately, many of today’s retirement villages have the elements of a lifestyle estate, offering privacy and the comfort of a spacious home yet with greater security, no house maintenance, the companionship of a close-knit community and access to recuperative or frail care if needed.
Rand Aid’s Elphin Lodge retirement village – which also houses the Ron Smith Care Centre – offers all this and a bit more.
Zabeth Zühlsdorff, Rand Aid’s GM: Services and Advance Division, believes that as much normalcy as possible must be retained when age-related health conditions force massive lifestyle changes on people.
“Older persons who are no longer very mobile must not be denied the chance to enjoy the services that were accessible to them before the onset of their health challenges.
“This is why Elphin Lodge offers a range of on-site services, including two general practitioners, a podiatrist, manicurist, hairdresser, beautician and biokineticist,” she explains.
The offices of these service providers are located close to the village’s coffee shop, Elphino’s, which enables residents to easily meet up with friends and loved ones over a cup of coffee or light meal.
Zabeth believes that having access to beauty therapists is important for elders.
“Offering a service like this is an important part of creating a warm, caring community geared to residents’ needs. Residents don’t lose out on the experience of having a local salon, where other customers and the beauty therapists know you and your likes, where friendships are forged and chatter flows.
“Secondly, having your hair and nails done, or enjoying a facial, pedicure or massage, make you feel good and when a person feels good, their spirit generally lifts too,” she says.
Matron Avril Maltman, Rand Aid’s Senior Nursing Manager, agrees. “Self-esteem is linked to psychological wellbeing, which in turn is linked to physical wellbeing. In fact, it has been shown that negative attitudes about ageing are associated with poorer functioning and decreased health,” she says.
Matron Avril believes that elders need to keep moving and often recommends that residents visit the on-site biokineticist. “Older persons must do as much exercise as their physical abilities allow,” she says. “Regular sessions with a biokineticist help people with health challenges stay mobile for longer and develops and maintains core strength, general toning, flexibility and balance.”
Even those who are still in good health should do biokinetics or other forms of exercises, she recommends, so that they can remain agile for longer.
Biokinetics offers rehabilitative movement that is designed specifically for each individual’s needs and can be used to help treat orthopeadic conditions and manage other chronic illnesses, over and above promoting general health and wellness.
Having a podiatrist on hand is also a blessing when it comes to diagnosing and treating foot and lower limb conditions.
“My work can be especially beneficial to people with diabetes,” says podiatrist Jade Young, who has been at Elphin Lodge since 2015.
Dr Carmella Mielke and Dr Christina Eleftheriades started at Elphin Lodge in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Both have a special interest in geriatric care.
“Having doctors on site enables continuity in care because we know and have access to the village and care centre’s nursing staff. This also promotes holistic care because we get the bigger picture of each patient’s challenges. The convenience of having us on site also means residents of the village are more likely to seek medical care when needed,” says Dr Christina.
Dr Mielke adds that the access they have to the medical staff helps counter polypharmacy, which is when multiple medications are taken concurrently to manage coexisting health problems, such as diabetes and hypertension. “Often, patients are prescribed too many medications – or medications that work against each other – by multiple healthcare professionals,” she says.
Elphin Lodge, which is set in beautiful, secure surroundings featuring dams, tranquil walks, spacious lawns and a swimming pool, also has a library, small shop and an interdenominational chapel on site, as well as a recreation centre comprising a large, well-equipped hall, snooker, billiards and card rooms.
“We want our residents to find their surroundings pleasant and provide easy access to a range of activities, to companionship and to support when needed. They must feel in control of their lives and able to find within our community many of the services that they did before becoming part of our family,” says Helen Petrie, the manager of the Elphin Lodge Complex.