Nursing homes/care centres used to be a beige world of sitting down in front of the TV and eating boiled cabbage at mealtimes. But not anymore. The team at Silver Magazine did the tour of Odyssey Lifestyle Care Community at Robina, and we were ridiculously impressed. Here are all the things you can look forward to.
RÓISÍN MURPHY REPORTS.
I and my colleague from Silver Magazine walked into the Care Community at Robina, the first thing we noticed was the high ceilings. The architecture is beautiful in the reception area, and the décor is super-stylish. As we moved through the building, we realised that there were a lot of beautiful spaces. It was a great first impression.
As we were shown through to the restaurant/café area, we were delighted to see little kids from a pre-school nearby playing with the residents. There were board games happening, drawing was going on, there were rides on walkers. Both the littlies and the residents were having a really good time. The intergenerational program runs every two weeks and the residents love it. Also, the kids were lapping up the adult attention they were getting. Don’t get me wrong, they were playing those board games to win, the competitive spirit was fierce.
But they were loving the adult company. We have all seen documentaries where they show experiments with the generations from the opposite ends of the age spectrum…but seeing it in practice is just something else. We humans should have been doing this all along. Older people and little kids are such a natural fit. The older people have the time to lavish lots of attention, and the kids were thriving on it. Everyone in the room was having a really great time. What a win‑win. It felt happy.
FOOD AT THE COMMUNITY
I and my colleague got even happier a minute after that when we were invited to sample the coffee and cake. Even though I say coffee and cake. I mean café‑style coffee was so good I snuck back and got another one. There were cakes such as mini danish and a choc caramel slice so tasty I saw my skinny sugar-avoiding colleague take two. This isn’t the image that comes to mind from a caring community. This is what you picture at a beachfront café that is full of trendy people with thousand-dollar prams and $250 boardies.
The more formal restaurant and casual café area feel like an actual nice restaurant and café. You wouldn’t know you were in a caring community. And here is the best bit. Residents can eat chefprepared food for just $15 a day. For this, they get two a la carte meals (lunch and dinner) and which can be chosen from a menu. That works out at just $7.50 for lunch and $7.50 for dinner. Not only that, residents can have family and friends meet them in the restaurant. Just make a booking and pay at reception. So if residents don’t want to cook for say, a mother’s day celebration, they can still have everyone over for a meal. Let the lunch parties roll on!
After we sample the food, we are taken to meet the Lifestyle Coordinator, Alison. Alison definitely has a fun job. She gets to take the residents out on seriously cool day trips. They flit around the Gold Coast and surrounds. In the days before we got there, residents told us they went to Yatala pie shop to get pies, which they thought was hilarious fun. They go to art galleries, they go on river cruises, they go up to Mount Tamborine, wine tasting.
FUN AND ENTERTAINMENT
They also go on shopping trips to surrounding shopping centres. But there’s cool stuff at home too. The residents do exercises in the morning. They have hand pampering sessions and get their nails done. They get facials as well. There are entertainers visiting all the time, anything from pianists, to harpists, to karaoke. Next on the activities planner is a wine-tasting session in the wine cellar on site. Everything about this place is wrapped in a little bit of luxury and sophistication. The top floor – storey seven – is a sky garden, where Odyssey held an experimental wine tasting night recently. The terrace had never been so busy. I think we are all ready to move in.
The display apartments look like something out of a home magazine. They are styled beautifully, and the layout is incredibly well-thought-out. This isn’t twee granny taste. This is sophisticated, stylish, and clean, with excellent storage spaces. There are designer appliances and finishes, and sensitive accessibility design. But the overall look is one of a modern and minimal haven. Residents can furnish their apartments however they want, from the interior décor to the colour scheme.
When you take the tour of Odyssey you’ll understand just how cool the tech is (seriously do the tour, even to get an idea of what is out there on the market). The use of tech is now so impressive, I am sure we are all ready for the robots to take over.
The most impressive bit of the kit is the smart TV that comes with the apartment. The technology is provided by HSC Technology Group – it is a Set‑Top‑Box connected to the resident’s television, much like those you experience in high-end hotels.
Residents can use the TV to see things like weekly activities, and the restaurant menu. They can access social media on it, Google to their heart’s content, play audiobooks, play games. The TVs have cameras so that residents can use them to video call their friends and relatives. Residents have been using the TV during Covid to have a doctor’s consultation, without having to leave home. And of course, there’s Netflix and normal TV too!
There’s another tech that is very impressive. Odyssey has a sensor system that can map a person’s usual use of their apartment. If anything drastically changes, an alert is set off. They do this with just infrared sensors, rather than cameras so that the resident’s privacy is preserved. For example, if a person is on the floor in an unusual position, or if anything else is wrong, the sensors will detect this. The tech installed in Odyssey has the sole aim of being preventative rather than reactive.
There are other really thoughtful extras at Odyssey. One of these is the transition room. This is a room, which looks exactly like a luxury hotel room. It is downstairs very close to the nurses’ office. If a resident goes through a bout of illness or has returned from a hospital stay, and they don’t feel confident to stay in their apartment, they can use this room until they are confident enough to return to their usual life. They are not charged to use this room and can use it for as long as it takes, maybe a couple of days, maybe a week. This room can also be used by a family member of a resident in some situations.
THE FINAL WORD
There are some new ways of thinking at Odyssey that make it really different to other offerings. The best part about it is that once you have moved in, you never have to move again if you don’t want to. Every level of care can be provided in every apartment.
When people move in, they may feel fit and active. It is hard for residents to picture at this stage that they might need help to shower or do other tasks. Then suddenly, a higher level of care is needed, and it is at this stage that nobody wants to be moving. The ideal scenario is while you’re still fit and well, you settle in, you make friends, and you feel at home by the time you need a high level of care.
At Odyssey, there’s the retirement village vibe, with lots of opportunities for friendship and company, plus a lifestyle care community. This is especially good for couples where one partner can still go out and do their own thing, knowing that Odyssey can look after the other resident.
Residents can also have a pet join them, invite grandkids for sleepovers and couples stay together. Residents can come and go as they like, and have visitors. It is a perfect balance.
Odyssey, from what we have seen here at Silver Magazine, is the best of both worlds between retirement and aged care. The peace of mind that this is your last move is an excellent selling point. I think we are all ready to move in and grab a spot in those wine tastings. An Mt Tamborine Cab Sav? Don’t mind if I do! ■
1 The Crestway, Robina QLD 4226
Phone: (07) 5551 6720
For more info about the different news on the elderly community in Gold Coast, click here, https://sunkissmedia.com.au/silvermagazine.
Editor for Silver Magazine Gold Coast