Building a Sense of Belonging: Respect Residents Enjoy Community Connections 

Mt St Vincent, St John's, Wangaratta, Woodhaven |

Sister's Beach outing at Mt St Vincent

Living in an aged care home sure doesn’t mean you’re disconnected from the wider community – and residents across Respect’s network of aged care homes can attest to that!

Throughout our aged care communities in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales, our staff are committed to ensuring residents can continue to build, and benefit from, positive social connections while in our care. Whether it’s between fellow residents or our dedicated staff members and volunteers, we know how important companionship and connection can be to building a positive, productive and fulfilling environment.  

Additionally, the interactions residents have with individuals from the wider community – whether outside our walls or while they are visiting our homes – is equally significant.  

Research and associated health advice has long contended that being part of a community can have significant health benefits, particularly for mental and emotional wellbeing. As a community-focused organisation, Respect recognises how integral a ‘sense of belonging’ and social connectiveness is to positive ageing. And our teams are committed to ensuring every one of our residents enjoy opportunities to reconnect with, and remain active members of, the communities in which they are proud to call home (many of which have for several decades!).

At each of our homes, our social teams curate a wide range of regular events and activities which inspire participation, promote inclusion, and give our residents an opportunity to connect with one other in a fun and positive way. Often these activities and events will involve the community – whether it’s through special guests and visitors or our residents embarking on excursions to enjoy local experiences and engage with others community members. 

For example, our Woodhaven residents in Lockart, New South Wales, recently celebrated the start of football season with a night out to catch an exciting game of local footy. The much-anticipated match took on some extra significance, with residents bringing along homemade streamers to cheer on Woodhaven staff members Ebony and Ruby, who both laced up their boots for the Riverina Bluebells. And with the added support, it’s no wonder the ladies were victorious and ran out winners 44-3! 

At St John’s in Wangaratta, Victoria, our staff and residents have a longstanding tradition of regularly welcoming visitors from the local community for fun-filled activities and memorable events. And this includes visitors of the four-legged variety! Each fortnight, our St John’s community is excited to get a visit from Rob Aitken, a local defence force veteran, and Gus the Wonder Dog – both trained pet therapy practitioners.

Community Connections at Respect
Pictured Left: Each fortnight, our St John’s community is excited to get a visit from Rob Aitken, a local defence force veteran, and Gus the Wonder Dog. Pictured Right: Woodhaven residents and two staff members Ebony and Ruby, who both laced up their boots for the Riverina Bluebells!

Gus, who has worked alongside Rob for five years and is approaching his 7th birthday, is not just a talented companion but also a valuable member of Defence Community Dogs. With 57 behaviours under his belt, including 10 specialised in anxiety-related support, Gus is always eager to engage with our residents one on one as well as in a group setting, showing off his skills and bringing smiles and laughter to our home.

Connection to place, and our community’s natural surrounds, is another important facet of social wellbeing. Earlier this month, our Mt St Vincent residents, from West Ulverstone, Tasmania, enjoyed the local beauty of Sister’s Beach – the perfect opportunity to soak in the good weather, listen to the waves, and spend some quality time together over a lovely picnic. 

We recognise how significant regular, local touchpoints – like the above – are for our residents’ health and wellbeing. And considering their wonderful feedback, Respect is committed to providing ongoing opportunities for social connection and wellbeing for all of our residents, in every one of our homes. 

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