Radius Arran Court

The International Day of Older Persons is celebrated every October 1st, when the world comes together to celebrate the lives of our elderly generation, who make up 10% of the global population. Dedicated to our elders, to acknowledge their wisdom, experience, and contributions to society, it’s a day to give back to those who have given decades to us.

International Day of Older Persons was officiated by the UN in 1991. In New Zealand, our elderly population is expected to increase from 16% to 21-26% by 2048. With elderly making up an increasingly significant chunk of our population, it is more important than ever to appreciate our senior citizens.

This year’s theme is ‘The resilience and contributions of older women’. It celebrates the resilience and perseverance of our elderly women in the face of gender inequality throughout their lifetime.

Whether it be family or friends, men or women, here is how you can celebrate your loved kaumātua this October.

 

Spend time with them

At Radius Care, we encourage family and friends to spend as much time with loved ones as possible. They are welcome to join in on meals with the residents, and staff often host celebrations in collaboration with families. No matter how hectic life gets, you can always come for a visit at your own time and remain an integral part of their support system.

Sit down for a cuppa and a chat with your parents, grandparents, aunties, or uncles and learn all about the wisdom they have to offer. Whether in person or digitally, reminiscing on past experiences and life lessons is a special way to show the seniors in your life that you care. Perhaps you could flick through photo albums from their childhood or listen to their favourite record.

Radius Peppertree

 

Get involved

Whether your loved one is at home or in a care home, getting involved in their hobbies is a great way to show you care. This could be gardening, bingo, painting, knitting, playing cards, or reading with them. Showing interest in their hobbies and pastimes lets them feel acknowledged and valued. Fun doesn’t stop when you get older. In fact, our Activities Co-ordinators and Physical Therapists spend their days supporting resident’s hobbies from arts and crafts to gardening and dancing.

Radius Taupaki

 

Write a letter

When was the last time you wrote a letter instead of emailing? If you can’t be with them in person this Elders Day, consider sending your loved one a handwritten letter, with reasons why you appreciate them. Creating a special keepsake for them to cherish is a great gift to show you care.

 

Cook them a meal

Cooking together is a great way to spend the day if you can be with them in person. Consider cooking them their favourite dish from their childhood or trying a beloved recipe that was passed down the generations. Whether it’s a Sunday roast or an apple pie, nothing shows appreciation more than a nice homecooked meal made with love. Here at Radius Care, providing food that is tasty and nutritious is a priority, with our kitchens catering for a variety of dietary requirements. Serving three hearty, healthy meals alongside snacks throughout the day, from fish and chip Fridays to Sunday roasts, there is something available for every resident to enjoy. Our chefs also put on special meals for occasions – such as the ever-popular high teas.

It is important that our growing elderly generations knows that their contributions are valued, and that they feel appreciated. This October, and all other eleven months of the year, take the time to show the elders in your life how much you care for them.

Radius Care’s residents and staff members look a lot like the New Zealand of today, a melting pot of cultures and nationalities. How our people celebrate the holidays provides a glimpse of our diversity, which extends beyond sparkling lights, pretty ornaments and swapping presents.

Regardless of culture and faith, Radius Care’s staff work tirelessly to make the holiday season special for the residents. Every December, activities are thoroughly planned to spread the festive cheer, including holiday movie and ice-cream events, lighting and decorations, pamper sessions, live music and bands, Christmas markets, carol singalongs and so much more.

In Maori culture, Christmas means Whakawahanaungatanga, or bringing the family together. Bernie Ake, who has worked at Radius Althorp for over sixteen years as activities coordinator says, “To me, Christmas means telling stories of our Tupuna (ancestors) to our Mokopuna (grandchildren), and what our Tupuna did when they were alive. We also share food through hāngī, barbecue, or a boil up. And we take daily visits as a whanau to our local swimming spot to swim, gather kaimoana (seafood) or just simply enjoy one another’s company.”

For Thea Van Kempen, therapist and activities coordinator at Radius Kensington, Christmas first and foremost is about quality time with family and friends. “I’m Dutch, I love a classic Kiwi Christmas but I also miss a snowy Northern Hemisphere Christmas with all the family inside, sharing a meal, singing carols and playing games or cards.”

Although traditional Christmases might seem prevalent, some of Radius Care’s staff revealed they have different views about the season of giving. “Our family don’t exchange presents. For many years, we have given service to the Salvation Army. And we collect food hampers for other organisations. Our joy comes from giving totally.” said Christina Wihongi, activities coordinator at Radius Rimu Park. This year, she and her family have given to the Women’s Refugee and home shelters in Whangarei.

When taking a trip down Christmas memory lane, Christina specifically mentioned 2018. “We invited a band that was part of the original Maori Volcanics with Prince Tui Teka. They had the whole facility up and dancing,” she said.

Christmas gifts are also not expected for Kanika Sharma, activities coordinator at Radius Glaisdale. “I’m a Hindu, and in the past in India our family used to enjoy a nice lunch together or visit relatives, but there wasn’t much of a Christmas celebration. Now in New Zealand, and with my twenty-month-old son, I get into the spirit and am buying a Christmas tree for him!” said Kanika. Kanika’s best end-of-year memory isn’t necessarily associated with Christmas alone. During the Diwali festival this year, her residents wanted to see Bollywood dance performance. Together with her colleagues, they made it happen. “One of our Maori colleagues joined in and danced even better than us!” she recalled. The celebration was a hit, and the next day she got compliment cards from residents when returning to work. “They said they loved how vibrant the celebration was – it’s probably my most favourite end-of-year memory ever,” she added.

Receiving thank-you notes from residents is no doubt the highlight of Christmas for Lee Heron, who works at Radius Elloughton Gardens. “Knowing my bright, bubbly personality puts a smile on the faces of many residents and staff members is a great feeling. What’s better than a great smile at Christmas time!” said Lee.

For Thea, adding a personal touch and extra care on Christmas Day is a cherished Christmas memory. “When I set the dining tables I make sure they are perfect, and I make sure that all residents get their presents. I also love to spend some time with those who have no family to bring them good cheer over the holidays,” she said.

Whether it be an interesting gift-giving tradition, a special family recipe or an all-time favourite melody, we all have something worth sharing about our individual ways of enjoying this time of year. New Zealand is culturally diverse and so are the residents and staff at Radius Care, so showing respect and recognition is perhaps what makes this time especially meaningful and unique for all the people in our care. However you choose to spend it – Radius Care wishes you happy holidays!

Introducing the Radius Care Board of Directors and Senior Management Teams.

 

Radius Care’s Board currently comprises:

 

Brien Cree  |  Executive Chair

Brien Cree has more than 30 years of experience in the aged care sector and is the founding shareholder of Radius Care. Brien has also been the Managing Director of Radius Care since the company’s inception in 2003. Brien has built Radius Care’s portfolio from the ground up to its current 23 aged care facilities and four retirement villages. As Executive Chair, Brien is focused on the execution of Radius Care’s strategic growth objectives. He is a board member of the NZACA and a past board member of the Retirement Villages Association.

 

Duncan Cook  |  Executive Director
LLB

Duncan is a consultant at Sharp Tudhope Lawyers (Tauranga and Auckland) having been a partner in the firm for 31 years. His key areas of practice are mergers and acquisitions, turnaround and restructuring. Duncan Cook has been a Director of Radius Care since 2010 and worked with Radius Care’s founders to establish, structure and grow the company. Duncan has governance experience across a range of industry sectors, including fishing, exports and housing construction. He has volunteered on the boards of the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce and agencies associated with economic development in the Tauranga region. Duncan is a member of the New Zealand Law Society, Institute of Directors New Zealand (Inc) and Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association New Zealand Incorporated.

 

Bret Jackson  |  Independent Director
BCom (Honours), MBA (Harvard Business School)

Bret Jackson has been a Director of Radius Care since 2014 and has over two decades of business experience. Bret is a co-founder of Knox Investment Partners (a leading private equity manager) and has been a Managing Director of Knox Investment Partners since 2005 (focusing on deal origination, strategy and value creation). Previously Bret held corporate roles at Mobil Oil New Zealand, as a management consultant at Boston Consulting Group (Sydney and London), and has founded and successfully operated his own private businesses. Bret is currently Chairman of AAM Group in Australia and is also a past President of the Harvard Business School Alumni Association of New Zealand.

 

Mary Gardiner  |  Independent Director
BCom, CA, FCG, MInstD

Mary Gardiner is a New Zealand Chartered Accountant and was appointed as an Independent Director of Radius Care in December 2020. Prior to joining Radius Care, Mary’s career has primarily been in financial services and she’s held roles as Chief Financial Officer of Instant Finance and Radius Health Group, and Governance Risk Manager at Air New Zealand and KPMG (New Zealand, Germany and Australia). She is also an Independent Director and Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee of Southern Cross Pet Insurance, Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee of Unity Credit Union, Chair of Netball Northern Zone, Director of Women in Sport Aotearoa and trustee of Mangere Mountain Education Trust, an Auckland Council controlled organisation. Mary is a member of the Institute of Directors, Fellow of Governance New Zealand.

 

Hamish Stevens  |  Independent Director
MCom (Honours), MBA, CA, CInstD

Hamish is a New Zealand Chartered Accountant and was appointed as an Independent Director of Radius Care in December 2020. Hamish has held directorships in both listed and private companies since 2010. Hamish is also currently the Chair of Embark Education Group, East Health Services and Pharmaco and a director of Marsden Maritime Holdings, Northport and Counties Energy. Prior to his governance career, Hamish held senior finance positions with Heinz Wattie’s, Tip Top Ice Cream and DB Breweries, and is a member of the Institute of Directors.

 

Tom Wilson  |  Independent Director

Tom is an experienced director and is currently the Chair of Genera Holdings, CurraNZ, Pelco NZ and Tauranga Bridge Marina. He is also a director of Builtin Insurance Group. Tom was previously the Chair of Barrett Homes Group, Regal Haulage Group, Hopkins Farming Group and Managing Director of Satara (NZX Listed). Tom was involved in several leading management positions in the Aged Care sector during his career and was a partner at KPMG for 10 years.

 

 

Radius Care’s Senior Management team currently comprises:

Andrew Peskett  |  Chief Executive Officer

Andrew brings extensive experience in the retirement village and aged care industry, having previously been a senior executive at Metlifecare, a leading New Zealand retirement village operator with total assets in excess of $4 billion. After several years working in large London law firms, Andrew returned to New Zealand and joined Metlifecare in 2007, holding roles including Acting Chief Executive Officer, GM Corporate Services, Acting GM Operations and General Counsel & Company Secretary.

 

Jeremy Edmonds  |  Chief Financial Officer

Jeremy joins the Radius Care team with extensive experience across various industries. Most recently as the interim CFO of My Food Bag.

 

Richard Callander  |  Chief Operations Officer

Richard is a strong people manager leading cultural change in large teams. He is passionate about customer experience in service environments and designing end-to-end processes to deliver service improvements. Richard enjoys helping teams to achieve business and personal goals. With experience in customer service and property management over multiple sectors, he has a proven track record delivering sustainable growth for shareholders and positive outcomes for other key stakeholders.

 

Trish Evers  |  General Manager People

Trish has over 15 years’ experience in the HR sector and has worked in various fields including government agencies, health and transportation. She joined Radius Care in 2017. Trish has a particular interest in the area of employee engagement and making sure that we get the best out of our staff.

 

Gared Thomas  |  General Manager Property & Development

Gared joined Radius Care in 2019 and is responsible for property development across New Zealand. Gared is passionate about delivering quality, well-designed homes for our residents to live in.

 

Sam Carey  |  General Manager Marketing, Retail & Sales

Sam started with Radius Care in 2011 and leads the branding, marketing strategy, RV sales and public relations portfolios. In 2017, Sam started the Radius Shop as a way to connect with elderly New Zealanders prior to needing aged care.

 

Shereen Singh | General Manager, RConnect

Shereen joined Radius Care in November 2021 and successfully transitioned from being a high-performing Regional Manager to leading our Nursing Bureau, RConnect, in March 2023. Shereen’s invaluable expertise in workforce planning and her significant contribution to our new business opportunities have been instrumental in our growth and success and she joined the Executive team in March 2024.

Even end of life legislation doesn’t cover people in aged care who feel “enough is enough”.

The elderly woman, suffering from dementia, had made a decision. She would no longer eat.

As her daughter-in-law put it: “In a private room, with only the television for company, she clearly decided – somewhere in the recesses of her addled brain – that enough was enough. She simply stopped eating.

“Who knows how much pain she endured from hunger pangs and dehydration but ultimately, somehow against the odds, she did take back some control of her life in the end, and decided to die.”

The full story is found on the website of Life Choice, one of those featured there in support of last year’s End Of Life Act which comes into force in November.

However, the story of the woman in aged care who, even though suffering from dementia, decided to die raises another moral and ethical dilemma for the aged care industry: what do they do when a resident opts to die and simply stops eating and drinking?

In the case of the elderly woman above, she had made three pre-dementia directives outlining her wish not to live with dementia and that all ‘life-saving’ medication and treatments were to be withdrawn if she could no longer care for herself. Her children took her at her word, the website story says, and once she was admitted into full time dementia care, somehow prevailed upon the medical people to stop all medication apart from pain relief where necessary.

However, complications arose when, after a fall, the woman had to be moved from the dementia care facility, where she had been contented, to a new, higher care facility which was unfamiliar and therefore scary to her. In the face of dislocation from her familiar environment, she immediately made her decision to stop eating.

Brien Cree, founder and executive chairman of Radius Care, says aged care facilities occasionally face the dilemma of a resident who has decided “enough is enough”.

While the case of the elderly woman above involved dementia and had the support of her family and children, in some cases it is non-dementia patients who decide to stop eating and drinking, in spite of repeated efforts by staff to tend them. Dementia patients generally have to be moved to a dedicated dementia care facility, usually because of the patients’ tendency to wander.

“Let me be clear about this, says Cree. “The aged care sector as a whole, in my view, doesn’t support voluntary euthanasia, primarily because we are all about caring for people. We focus on that and can’t want to get involved with prematurely ending anyone’s life.

“But what do we do when someone refuses to eat or drink? We have had a few people not only refuse to eat or drink – they tear out saline drips and refuse all help. We are not mandated to force-feed anyone; it’s against their rights.”

Complicating matters, says Cree, is that the families of such people are often misled by the elderly relative: “They perk up when the family are there. There’s no mystery in that; seeing their family is a lift for them.

“I found that with my own mum,” says Cree, whose 72-year-old mother was the inspiration for Radius (now with 22 aged care facilities around New Zealand) after he couldn’t find anywhere suitable after his mum suffered a stroke.

“I’d come in to visit my mum and she’d be fine, animated and interacting. But when I talked to the staff afterwards, they’d tell me she wouldn’t come out of her room and wouldn’t have dinner. When I was there, she’d do everything.

“So we get a few families, when their loved one goes into a slump or suddenly dies, who say to us: ‘She was fine when I saw her on Sunday; what have you guys done?’ So we get the blame for what some people say is poor care, even though we can’t force feed anyone.”You can understand how this happens. Those families remember how that person used to be; they want that person back.”

Cree says many take happily to aged care: “A great number of people have very fulfilling lives in our facilities and villages. We’ve had people meet and fall in love while in care and some even got married.”

The difficulty for the aged care industry, he says, is that even the End Of Life legislation does not cover the person who decides “enough is enough”.

As the daughter-in-law of the woman in the Life Choice example says, her mother-in-law would not have been helped by the new legislation: “Dementia – possibly the biggest societal challenge posed by our aging population – is not, not technically anyway, a terminal disease. There would not have been any conversation about an assisted departure for [her], despite her fervent resolve.”

It is, says Cree, a grey area not covered by legislation and which remains unclear when elderly people take matters into their own hands and refuse to eat and drink.

– Originally published by The New Zealand Herald. Republished with permission. Link

Falls are one of the biggest health hazards for elderly people living at home or in aged care.

It sounds counter-indicative but, for many of New Zealand’s elderly people, the most dangerous room they inhabit is the bedroom.

That’s because the bedroom is the last frontier for guarding against one of the most perilous events faced by elderly folk: a fall.

Laurel Winwood is facility manager at Radius Care’s Taupaki Gables, west of Auckland, and says that in her 15-year career with Radius she has seen the aged care operator’s ability to reduce falls grow in number and efficiency.

Most would assume the bathroom as the most likely place for a fall but Winwood says, in Radius facilities, carers are present to help residents to and bathrooms have been specially equipped with handrails and other aids. Instead, it is the simple act of getting out of a chair or getting up from bed to go to the toilet that causes most falls.

“We take it so seriously – all Radius facilities have a falls reduction programme; it’s our business to reduce falls and they form part of our quality indicators that we report on every month and which we analyse to see if there are areas of the facility which are seeing more falls or times of day when most occur, for example.”

That degree of care is taken because falls are common in older people and can often hasten deaths as confidence and health plummet.

Falls are also often caused by multiple factors, not just because – as is often supposed – the elderly are simply infirm. Winwood says the following causes can promote a fall, whether that be of an elderly person living alone at home or in aged care:

“Any fall is a red flag,” she says. “It can be caused by any one of those factors or a combination of them. If people fall, they usually go to hospital and if they’ve broken a hip or an arm, they can often go downhill quite quickly or they discover in hospital that they have other problems as a result of the fall trauma.

“Falls can also stem from underlying conditions like dementia. My own mother-in-law had a series of falls when she was living alone. They were triggered by dementia – and we hadn’t known; it was only discovered after the falls happened.”

The simple act of standing up lowers the blood pressure, says Winwood, causing many falls to occur. That’s why the bedroom is the most likely place for falls.

Radius’ fall reduction focus includes an exercise programme – where some are seated and some stand – to maintain the muscles and balance needed to avoid falls. They also identified the lounge as an area where a lot of falls were occurring, with residents lulled into a false sense of confidence; falls happening when they stood up.

So Radius has strategically placed carers in the lounges on rosters so they can see a potential problem developing or residents known to struggle a bit – and so residents can simply ask for help.

The bedroom, however, remains a potential fall zone as residents sometimes fall when getting out of a chair or out of bed.

“Residents have a bell they can ring – but a lot of the time they don’t, because they don’t want to bother us,” says Winwood. “They want to be independent. So we’ve installed alarm mats which trigger an alarm when the resident moves onto the mat – just so we can poke our heads in and see whether they need help or not.”

If alarm mats aren’t suitable, Radius also installs sensors to do the same thing. Furniture in the bedroom is all New Zealand-made and fitted to the specifications of a resident, so that a chair or bed is the right height for them and they don’t have to struggle to get up, promoting a fall.

Many other steps are taken to guard against falls. Residents blood pressure and weight are regularly monitored, a clinical pharmacist works with doctors to ensure combinations of medications are appropriate, physiotherapists work with residents not only on exercise but also to ensure those who need walkers have the right equipment at the right height.

“We enjoy and encourage our residents being independent,” says Winwood, “but we know we will never eliminate falls entirely. We can reduce the number, however, and that’s what we are always striving to do.”

For specific products to prevent loved ones or yourself from falls at home, visit the Radius Care shop.