Fitzroy of Merivale stands in a pristine and unique location right in the heart of the synonymous suburb of Merivale, Christchurch City. The boutique rest home is independently owned by Vanessa Pirie and her husband, Daryn, who took over on April 1, 2016. Though they’ve only been with the rest home for a short while, the couple has been very well received by the community of residents as well as the staff who have been very supportive.
The rest home sits in a truly beautiful locale surrounded by incredibly gardens while the buildings are full of antiques in a continuous celebration of its original design. Furthermore, the home is incredibly close to a mall which includes a considerable ranges of stores including a supermarket. Cafés, restaurants, pharmacies, and other shops are also very close. Residents who are active in their daily lives can also take advantage of other nearby services including the city bus and the taxi stands.
A truly friendly and homely environment
Fitzroy is unique in many aspects, including the fact that it hosts a maximum of 30 residents. The relatively small size ensures that the rest home is more like a community than anything else. Vanessa assured us that everyone knows each other and that the staff and the residents truly care for each other. In addition to that, every single person involved in Fitzroy knows the families of the residents and they interact with them on a regular basis. In fact, the staff regularly receives positive feedback from family members due to the high standards of care provided to the residents.
As Vanessa told us, one member of the staff has even been with Fitzroy of Merivale for more than 14 years. Not only are they incredibly friendly but they are also very experienced both in the industry as a whole and in communicating with the residents of Fitzroy. They have largely succeeded in turning the rest home into a homely environment where everyone feels like a part of the community. And since the residents are familiar with everyone, they truly feel like they are in their own homes with the benefit of having quick and easy access to a wide range of services.
A wide range of activities and services
Every Friday, a hairdresser comes into the rest home and is always busy with the residents. Vanessa informs us that her great personality makes her very popular with the residents and it’s more like a social event than a simple hairdressing appointment for most. On the other side of the entertainment spectrum, a piano player regularly comes in for musical afternoons. The residents’ meals are catered off-site and the main meal is set during the evening in a unique twist from most retirement homes. Residents are also encouraged to get together every Friday in a session where both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are served.
Aside from eating at home, the residents also go out at least twice per month to enjoy their lunch in the city. A complimentary van is also there to take them on a number of different activities such as visits to a museum or just an afternoon tea. Some of these excursions are more formal and organized while others are simple get-togethers. Both types have proven popular with the residents as most of them want to stay active and be involved in daily activities. To that end, an activities coordinator is also on-site to support and aid in their activities.
Overall, the residents always have access to the things they require. On the medical side of things, a doctor visits Fitzroy at least once every Thursday and looks after most of the residents. Moreover, a physical therapist comes in on a weekly basis while a podiatrist visits one per month. However, if a resident requires a different medical service, Vanessa and her husband will gladly arrange for a doctor to visit on-site. Of course, the rest home also employs nurses who are always there to assist in the day-to-day medial needs of the residents. In fact, Vanessa herself had been nursing for 25 years, mostly in aged care, before moving on to Fitzroy of Merivale.
An approach tailored to residents
Importantly, Vanessa maintains an open-door policy which means that whenever a resident has an issue or a complaint, they are always free to come and talk with her or her husband.
“We’ve managed to gain the trust of the residents. It was quite an ordeal for them knowing that new owners were coming and they didn’t know us. They were afraid of changes and what was going to happen with the staff, that we were going to come and completely change the routines and other things. I think we’ve gotten a good feel from people that they are happy with how everything’s been running. We haven’t made a lot of changes but the residents are welcome and they do come and talk to us regularly about what’s going on. We also got to know their families quite well in the short time that we’ve been here”, says Vanessa.
As part of the Occupation Rights Agreement (ORA) that the majority of residents own, a supervisor is also on-site to assist in these matters. Aside from offering permanent homes, Fitzroy also offers respite and short term care agreements. Many of the permanent residents originally arrived in the rest home for a short time and then retuned due to the excellent care that they received during their stay.
Vanessa and Daryn may have also been with Fitzroy for a short amount of time but they’ve nevertheless had a positive impact on the community. Any fear that the residents may have had due to the change of ownership has been alleviated and plans for the future have been already put in motion. Though there are no immediate expansion plans in the works, the couple wishes to keep providing top quality care and a place where people truly want to live and work. Judging by their current standards, it’s safe to assume that their goal will easily be reached.