The War Veterans Home

Serving those who served

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RSL Care SA is privileged to share the extraordinary military experiences, stories and recollections of some of our veteran residents.

It is always a privilege to have ex-service men and women access temporary or permanent accommodation through RSL Care SA. Our Andrew Russell Veteran Living (ARVL) program offers emergency and affordable housing accommodation options to contemporary veterans, while our Retirement Living and Residential Aged Care facilities offer accommodation to the elderly.

We are in a unique position to hear so many different stories about our residents military experiences. We think it’s important to share these stories with others as a reminder to be thankful for the freedom we experience today because of the ongoing service of others. We will be adding to this post regularly and hope you enjoy learning about our veterans as much as we do!

Flying Officer, Alex McKinnon

Alex enlisted with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in September 1941 at the age of 18. His initial training was at Fort Breckan Victor Harbor in the same intake as Keith Miller the famous Australian cricketer. Further training took place on Prince Edward Island Canada before being shipped to Brighton in the UK. After a short time in the UK, Alex was shipped to the Middle East where he was assigned as a Navigator to RAAF 459 Squadron. This squadron was located at an airbase called El Berka just out of Benghazi in Libya. Alex (Navigator) and three other crew members (Pilot, Wireless Operator and Gunner) flew Baltimore Bomber aircraft over the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas bombing German shipping and supplies as well as missions to Rhodes and Crete. In total Alex flew 28 sorties with 176.5 hours of flying.

Alex returned to Australia at the completion of the War as a Flying Officer, achieving the following Honours and Awards: 1939-45 Star, Italy Star, Defence Medal, War Medal 1939-45, Australian Service Medal 1939-45, Returned from Active Service Badge.

 

Squadron Leader, Murray ‘Lyne’ Skinner

Lyne enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on the 5th of December 1940 at the young age of 19, accompanied by his older brother John. After some initial training in Pearce and Cunderdin in Western Australia, Lyne was singled out as a pilot and sent to Sommertown on Prince Edward Island in Canada for the next stage of training, which would ensure he was at the standard level required for the Operational Training Unit in England. Lyne finished his training in the United Kingdom in Wiltshire, Chivenor and Devon.

Lyne’s first operation, as leading Aircraftman, was on the 14th of May 1942.  While it was quite an uneventful mission (unexpectedly cut short), it did not foretell the many hours of flying and ‘heart stopping’ moments that were to come. Lyne had several postings across the United Kingdom, the Western Desert in Egypt, Malta and Italy.  His missions included submarine operations, enemy patrols, dinghy searches, reconnaissance, navigation and even a mine laying operation! While Lyne flew many aircraft’s during his time in the RAAF, his favourite by far was the Spitfire.

Lyne’s last posting was with RAF 683 Squadron based at Stan Severa, Italy. In 1945 he was discharged as Squadron Leader, having achieved a whopping 1,114 hours (and 35 minutes) of flying.

Sadly, Lyne’s brother John was killed in a Blenheim crash in Kenya in 1941, never to return home.

Read the full account of Lyne’s service history on the Flight Publishing website at the following link (pages 28 to 39) http://www.raafa.org.au/sites/default/files/Wings%20Winter18-V2.pdf

 

Flying Officer, Colin Watt OAM, DFM

Colin Watt OAM DFM flew Lancaster aircraft with Bomber Command in WWII. Colin completed 25 missions totaling over 170 flight hours and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal for his extraordinary service in exceptionally trying circumstances. Only three of the 14 pilots Colin trained with survived the war. The below photo was taken on the 29th of September 1942, with Colin flying the lead aircraft! Sadly, the two planes accompanying him were shot down shortly after this photo was captured.

 

Colonel Donald Beard AM, RFD, ED (Ret’d)

After completing his medical degree Donald Beard volunteered as a Medical Officer in the Army in 1949 serving in Japan and treating evacuated soldiers from Korea with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force. Donald Beard was due to return to Australia on the 27th June 1950, but 4 days before his departure he was recall to his base unit where he reluctantly volunteered to serve in Korea. He served as Regimental Medical Officer during the famous 3rd Battalion (Old Faithful) in the Battle of Kapyong. The Battle of Kapyong involved a 15,000-strong Chinese division attacking the Australian, British and Canadian Battalions and the New Zealand 16th Field Regiment in two days and nights of fierce fighting near Seoul. Donald returned to Australia in December of 1951.

Donald was chosen as a member of the Australian contingent to attend and march in the coronation service of the Queen Elizabeth II in London on 2 June 1953. Part of a world goodwill tour lasting 5 months. In 1968, Donald again found himself serving in a war zone at Vung Tau Base, Vietnam. Donald had a long and distinguished career as a Doctor which included being the medical officer for the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA). Donald’s extraordinary life has been documented by Ashley Mallett in the Wakefield Press book called ‘The Diggers’ Doctor, the Fortunate Life of Col. Donald Beard AM, RFD, ED (Ret’d)’. Donald very kindly signed 2 copies of his book while he was with us for 5 weeks of respite in August 2017. We look forward to having him back later this year!

 

 

Applying for an ACAT Assessment

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    How to apply for an ACAT assessment

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Accessing Residential Aged Care

RSL Care SA has two government funded residential aged care (nursing home) facilities; the War Veterans Home in Myrtle Bank, and RSL Villas in Angle Park. To access government funded services, such as respite and permanent care, you must first be approved for aged care by the Australian Government’s Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).

ACAT assessors are qualified professionals such as nurses and social workers. An ACAT can provide approvals for residential respite care, permanent residential care, and home care services. Depending on the types of services that are needed, ACAT will either conduct an interview over the phone, or will arrange a time to meet with the client in their own home.

Register for an ACAT assessment

ACAT’s are managed through the Australian government’s My Aged Care. There are three ways to register for an ACAT Assessment:

  • Phone – Please call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 and speak with a representative
  • Online – Please visit the following link to make a referral online https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/referral
  • GP – your GP or health care professional can provide a referral for an ACAT

ACAT assessments are FREE and a My Aged Care Client Record will be created. The initial referral can be made by anyone, however the person who the assessment is for will need to give their consent if a representative is required throughout the entire assessment process.

If you would like help in making a referral, please call RSL Care SA on 8379 2600 and a member of our admissions team will be happy to submit an online referral on your behalf. Your assessment results will not be provided to an organisation without your approval.

Many people have ACAT assessments done for peace of mind should there be a sudden change in their health or care needs. If you decide to apply for an ACAT assessment, there is no requirement to use the services that you have been approved for.

The ACAT Assessment process

  • Make a referral (online or over the phone)
  • ACAT will call the nominated contact person and arrange a time to conduct a short phone interview to assess the clients eligibility to access aged care services
  • During the initial phone interview ACAT will ask for details of the clients medicare card number and GP. The client will need to be available at the phone interview to give consent for a representative to speak on their behalf
  • At the conclusion of the phone interview ACAT will arrange a time for a formal assessment to take place in the clients own home
  • At the home interview ACAT will ask lots of questions about the clients health, care needs and other concerns. Learn more about what happens during an ACAT assessment here
  • Assessment results are usually processed within a few days (this can be done more quickly if the matter is urgent) and a letter will be sent to the client with information on the services they now have access to

The Aged Care Assessment Team can arrange for an urgent assessment for those who need it. Otherwise the entire assessment process usually takes about two-three weeks.

What’s Next?

To be offered a respite or permanent bed at an Aged Care Facility, or to be placed on a waiting list, the facility will usually ask to see a copy of the ACAT assessment. This is also known as a ‘My Support Plan’.  At the back of the My Support Plan are referral codes that relate to each of the services a person has been approved for. Aged Care facilities can look up the My Support Plan online using these codes.

If you have had your ACAT assessment and would like to be placed on RSL Care SA’s residential aged care waiting list, please complete our application form here.

Our Admissions team are always happy to answer any queries you may have regarding ACAT assessments or care options, so please feel free to call (08) 8379 2600 during office hours – Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm.

Getting To Know Our Volunteers

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Volunteers of RSL Care SA

RSL Care SA is privileged to have a wonderful, rapidly growing database of passionate volunteers. All of our volunteers are highly valued and seen as a vital part of our organisation. Thanks to the generosity of our volunteers, we are able to offer a range of versatile activities and services that enrich the lives of our residents.

To demonstrate just how important volunteers are to our organisation, we will be posting regular interviews with our volunteers showing exactly what it is they do and why.

SANDRA PAVIA

Sandra Pavia is our Volunteer Coordinator and has been working at RSL Care SA for over 12 months.  Working closely with the residents, Sandra has been able to tailor volunteer services to suit their various needs. Having a dedicated Volunteer Coordinator has seen our volunteer database double over the last year! We currently have 34 active volunteers, and of course we are always looking for more! See Sandra’s interview below:

What sorts of activities do volunteers do with our residents?

Volunteers participate in a range of different activities with our residents, such as; companionship and social support; assistance on outings or shopping; driving the bus for resident outings; beauty therapy services such as manicures; organising or assisting with participation in activities; Pastoral care and faith support; assistance with wellbeing initiatives and providing pet therapy engagement with residents to list a few

We also have volunteers who provide support in areas such as the kitchen, garden and maintenance.

Volunteers with the right qualifications are also able to go into specialised areas such as Andrew Russell Veteran Living (ARVL), which is our program for younger veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Why do you think volunteers are so valued at RSL Care SA?

We value our volunteers because we recognise the critical role they play in supporting and enhancing the lives of our residents and hope that they gain as much enjoyment from their volunteering as our residents do. Volunteers also support the organisation in fulfilling its mission and vision.

What benefits do you see to the resident’s from having volunteers visit regularly?

Volunteers are able to focus on the resident’s individual needs at the time of their visit, spend quality time with them, nurture friendships, sit and listen, embrace natural reminiscing and support residents social connections.

How do you become a volunteer at RSL Care SA?

To volunteer at RSL Care SA all you need to have is a desire to contribute to the enhancement of our residents lives, an ability to commit as little as one hour per week, and undertake the necessary approval processes required to work in Aged Care.

GEORGIE ORCHARD

It’s so wonderful when children and young people have a heart for the elderly and a desire to give up their time to help others. We accept volunteers of all ages, especially if they are as sweet as Georgie! Watch her interview below.

BETH COTTON

What made you decide to become a volunteer?

I thoroughly enjoy being in the company of older people. I love chatting with them and listening to their stories. I always come away from my visits feeling very blessed!

What is your role as a Volunteer at RSL Care SA?

I buddy a resident who has severe memory loss, helping out as needed. It is a privilege to help someone who is vulnerable, even if it’s just providing some extra company or offering a listening ear. I also attend the ‘chair exercise’ group and assist the residents throughout the class, which I thoroughly enjoy.

What is your favourite thing about volunteering?

I enjoy spending my time with people who have lived amazing lives. The residents all have stories to tell and listening to what they have to say adds colour to my life. There is an old saying “as we refresh or bless others we are ourselves refreshed”, and I couldn’t agree with this more!

ANNE MILLER

Anne is our wonderful Art Facilitator. Watch her interview below!

SUSAN KUKESTE

How long have you been volunteering at RSL Care SA?

I have been volunteering at RSL Care Myrtle Bank since March 2016 so just over 2 years.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?

After finishing full time employment I still needed to work. I have been involved in and contributing to community throughout my life. Growing up in the country that was a given. In my early years I was involved with Nursing Mothers Association of Australia as a counsellor and group leader. Once my children were at school I became involved in school life – supporting student needs, fundraising and pastoral care support to parents. I volunteered with Teen Challenge for several years and have continued with voluntary work through group work and pastoral care associated with my church life.  The opportunity to volunteer at Myrtle Bank and work with the Chaplain and Lifestyle in Pastoral Care Support was a good fit. So here I am.

What activities do you do with the residents?

Most of my time and involvement is visiting with the residents offering a listening ear, friendship, general chit chat, and conversation, wherever that might take us. At times I join in with planned activities. A very important part of my week is supporting the weekly Sunday Church Service. Assisting residents to get there and return home, leading services and giving a message are all part of what I do- who I am.

What is your favourite thing about volunteering?

Following the loss of my mother in 2015 I reflected on the shortcomings of life for the aging in our society, particularly people becoming more isolated and people in care. I hoped to make a difference and contribute in a way that would count and be meaningful for individuals. Having studied and trained as a Chaplain I hoped to utilize this in whatever I took on in the future.

As a pastoral care person I talk with and get to know people. Some people are happy with a brief ‘how are you, hope you are well’. Others like to share their stories and have someone take interest in their lives and develop relationships with them. I have the privilege of hearing incredible stories, beautiful stories and in so doing one can only recognise and marvel at the resilience and courage and beauty of so many. Everyone has stories to tell.

We all need to tell those stories and learn of one another –  that’s how we grow, that’s how community happens. I am enriched and challenged by the privilege of sharing in the residents’  life journeys.

JIM RICHARDSON

Jim has been volunteering at the War Veterans Home in Myrtle Bank for about nine months and is a wonderful addition to our Veterans Support Group. Watch his interview below!

If you wish to enquire further about volunteer opportunities, please contact Sandra Pavia on 8379 2600. Sandra will be happy to schedule a time to meet with you and discuss your areas of interest.

RSL Care SA Life Membership awarded to Dennis Chamberlain

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RSL Care SA Life Membership awarded

RSL Care SA Life Membership awarded to Dennis Chamberlain for his outstanding contribution and dedication to our organisation. Dennis served on the Board of RSL Care SA from 2013 to 2016, as a director with  specialist aged care knowledge.

In addition to Dennis’ time on the RSL Care SA board, his life membership also recognises his time as CEO of James Brown Memorial Trust, an organisation that delivers aged services through residential aged care and retirement living. During Dennis’ time as CEO, James Brown Memorial Trust managed the day to day operations of the RSL Villas aged care facility and was instrumental in the successful merger of the RSL Villas operations and assets to RSL Care SA.

Dennis has also served as a Board member of not for profit Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) for a number of years and held the position of State Chairman.

RSL Care SA is an extremely well governed and trusted not for profit which is due to the expertise, tireless dedication and numerous years of experience that our volunteer board members bring to the organisation. We extend our thanks to Dennis, and to all our past and present Board members for their dedication and commitment to RSL Care SA.

Get Involved with RSL Care SA

Please see below for information on how you can be involved in the wonderful work RSL Care SA does.

Volunteering with RSL Care SA

Volunteers are highly valued and welcomed at RSL Care SA. To enquire about volunteering, please contact us here or phone 08 8379 2600.

Read about one of our volunteers who was recently honoured with an Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) Excellence Award here.

Donate Online to RSL Care SA

All donations to RSL Care SA over $2 are tax deductible and gratefully received. Donations help us to continue providing care and assistance to many senior Australians as well as contemporary veterans. Please click here to donate now.

About us

RSL Care SA believes that the ex-service community deserves the best care and affordable accommodation. RSL Care SA is an independently constituted not for profit organisation with links to the Returned & Services League of Australia (SA Branch).

Our mission is to support veterans and their dependents, although the ex-service community are our primary client group it is not exclusively so. The facilities and services are also available to the broader community.

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