IF you have ever taken the Moggill Ferry Road in Ipswich you couldn’t help but notice the red bricked Riverview Gardens Aged Care Centre that sits on the corner.
It has been under the compassionate care of the Salvation Army now for 50 years.
After starting out as the Eventide Home for Men it has grown over the five decades to become one of the biggest and best known aged care facilities in the region.
When the Salvation Army welcomed its first guests it gave them the following commitment, “we will strive for the best attainable quality of life for all residents, meeting their needs physically, intellectually, socially, emotionally and spiritually.”
Now, 50 years on, this commitment to residents at Riverview Gardens Aged Care has been honoured, with the centre having built a reputation within the community as an organisation that genuinely cares for others in need without discrimination, regardless of their personal, financial, and medical circumstances.
Amongst the many long time staff members is assistant nurse Sandra James who started at the centre 22 years ago.
She was forthright in speaking about her years at the centre when she said there had been some hard days, but she was quick to say how much she enjoyed the family spirit that embodied Riverview.
“You can’t help but get involved in the lives of our residents, talking to them and looking after them on a daily basis,” she said.
“I enjoy hearing the life stories and I also enjoy meeting their relatives when they come to visit. They fill in a lot of blanks when talking proudly of their mother, father, or grandparents.
“It is a privilege to be able to help the residents and families through this chapter of their life,” she said.
Riverview resident Miriam Lehmann is only a new kid on the block having lived at the centre for just over four years.
She was living in North Queensland and once she realised, she needed support living she started researching care facilities.
“It was a big decision for me, but I made the right choice and I am very happy here,” she said.
Some other long serving staff include Lifestyle Coordinator Penny Palmer, who has worked at Riverview for more than 22 years to bring fun and some excitement to residents and their families.
Penny was encouraged to undertake substantial training in dementia and she now says these courses have helped her to further understand the complexities of dementia.
Karen is another long-serving staff member at Riverview Gardens who has been with the Centre for 15 years this October as an Assistant in Nursing.
She has many fond memories from her time at Riverview Gardens that stem back even as far as her first week of work – despite being “a little nervous.”
Despite her new-job nerves, the existing staff gave her encouragement and that feeling of her team’s support has stuck with her.
The Centre itself has also seen many changes throughout its 50 years, with Karen noting that a new nursing home has since been built and she remembers watching the transformation through the construction process.
But the memories and moments that resonate with her the most include those of human connection with the residents.
Karen says that her time with The Salvation Army means having a “love for the residents and love for my job,” and her advice for those looking to enter the aged care industry is to be encouraged by the fact that, “you will make a difference in the lives of the resident’s and their families.”