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Mental Health Awareness

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    Mental health and emotional wellbeing

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RSL Care SA places a great deal of importance on the mental health and emotional wellbeing of our residents. Some examples of mental health conditions experienced by residents within RSL Care SA are depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and confusion. These can be suffered by any resident at any time, and individuals respond differently to these conditions. To ensure that residents who are suffering from these conditions are receiving the best possible support, our staff will work closely with the resident, their families and various external organisations. Many of our veteran residents suffer with some of these conditions as a result of their service, and because of this, have a close relationship with the Jamie Larcombe Centre (JLC).

We would like to thank Darren Renshaw, JLC’s Veterans’ Health Advocate, for providing the helpful tips below, on caring for ones mental health, as well as services that can be accessed if the need arises.

Guest post by DARREN RENSHAW – Veterans’ Health Advocate, Jamie Larcombe Centre

What is a mental health problem?

Just as our physical health can vary from one day to the next, so can our emotional wellbeing. We can have good or poor mental health and everything in between, often depending on what’s happening in our lives and how we’re reacting to it. Growing older, career changes, moving interstate, deployment, leaving the defence forces, divorce, grief and loss can all affect our mental health and wellbeing. It’s normal to react to such events in our lives but sometimes our reactions could be a sign of a mental health problem, particularly if they persist. Mental health problems can be mild to severe. You can do something about yourself, and at other times you may need to seek professional help.

How can we care for our mental health?

There are simple ways to maintain good mental health.

  • Choose a balanced diet, regular exercise, low-risk drinking and don’t smoke;
  • Spend time with friends and family and do at least one pleasant thing each day;
  • Exercise and nourish your mind with interests and hobbies and meet new friends at the same time;
  • Connect with your community: your local council, church, club or neighbourhood centre will be a source of ideas;
  • Talk to family or mates – don’t bottle it up; and
  • Accept that it is normal to react emotional to difficulties – don’t be too hard on yourself for feeling down.

Getting help

It can be difficult and frightening to accept that there is something wrong. It’s hard to take the first steps to seek help. If you think that you or someone you care about is not coping, it is important to talk with a professional you trust. Your local doctor is a good first point of call and can help you determine if there is a problem and what the best approach might be.

A number of support services are available to all Australian Defence Force personnel, veterans and their families. These services allow you to speak to someone who is experienced in issues relating to military service.

Services include:

  • Crisis and Emergencies – For any crisis, including medical emergencies, call 000.
  • Australian Defence Force (ADF) All Hours Support Line – call 1800 628 036 for 24-hour counselling and support. This service is available to all ADF members and their families.
  • Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling – call 1800 011 046 for 24-hour Australia-wide counselling and support. This service is available to all veterans and their families.
  • The Defence Family Helpline – call 1800 624 608 for 24-hour support, information and help in connecting with your local community.
  • Lifeline – call 13 11 14 for free, 24-hour Australia-wide crisis support and suicide prevention services.
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) – 1800 555 254. DVA exists to meet the Nation’s commitment to care for our veteran and defence service community. DVA do this through programs of care, compensation, commemoration, income support and Defence support services. DVA’s aim is to ensure enhanced self-sufficiency, quality of life, financial wellbeing and community recognition for those they support. This service is available Monday to Friday during business hours.
  • The Jamie Larcombe Centre – call 1300 043 175. The centre provides mental health and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) services to veterans at the Glenside Health Service Campus.
  • Statewide Veterans’ Health Advocate – call 7087 1387. The Veterans’ Health Advocate provides a single point of contact for veterans and their families in regard to public health services, hospitals and health information in South Australia. This service is available Monday to Friday during business hours.

Information courtesy of the Department of Veterans Affairs “At Ease” program. Further valuable information can be found at

Read about RSL Care SA’s Andrew Russell Veteran Living program and how we are helping contemporary veterans in need of transit accommodation.

Resident Health Tips

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Resident Wisdom and Health Tips you can count on.

People have tips for everything these days, but the tips carry a greater weight from those who have the longetivity to prove their wisdom.

We recently asked some of our beautiful residents what their Winter Health tips were and documented their response below. These three residents are over 100 years old…now that is some wisdom worth listening to.

Collie's Winter Health tipsCollie – 106 years young

Have a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar morning and night and tell jokes to keep yourself warm.

Collie turned 106 years old on June 27th. He’s been our resident for the last 16 years.

Other tips from Collie include:

  1. Sit in the morning sunlight
  2. Drink 4 cups of coffee

Peggy's Winter Health Tips Peggy McKinnon – 99 years young

To stay active by cheering on the Crows to win every weekend and stay rugged up to keep yourself warm.

Peggy recently turned 100 and is waiting for her letter from the queen with great anticipation.

Peggy's Winter Health TipsPeggy Howarth – 100 years young

I come from good stock and I have a daily walk around the block.

Peggy Howarth

If you’ve been looking for some winter health tips from centenarians, then you can now tick off your health bucket list.

The common themes between the three include:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Friendship and Sunlight
  • Stay Warm
  • Love who you are and keep your spirits high.

Need a place to stay warm this winter in the company of great people? Drop in to Huey’s Cafe at Myrtle Bank open Monday through Saturday.

The New Aged Care Quality Standards

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Organisations providing Commonwealth subsidised aged care services are required to comply with the new Aged Care Quality Standards from 1 July 2019.

The Quality Standards focus on outcomes for consumers and reflect the level of care and services the community can expect from organisations that provide Commonwealth subsidised aged care services.

The Quality Standards are made up of eight individual standards:

1.   Consumer dignity and choice
2.   Ongoing assessment and planning with consumers
3.   Personal care and clinical care
4.   Services and supports for daily living
5.   Organisation’s service environment
6.   Feedback and complaints
7.   Human resources
8.   Organisational governance.

Each of the Quality Standards is expressed in three ways:

  • a statement of outcome for the consumer
  • a statement of expectation for the organisation
  • organisational requirements to demonstrate that the standard has been met.

To watch a video regarding the New Aged Care Quality Standards, please click on the link here. Or to visit the Australian Governments website please click the link here.

Along with the New Aged Care Quality Standards is a new simpler Charter of Aged Care Rights. The Charter will make it easier for aged care consumers, their families and carers to understand what they can expect from an aged care service provider, regardless of whether they are in residential care or receiving care in the home. Consumer responsibilities have also been revised. These changes will support aged care service providers in delivering care to consumers and provide protection for the aged care workforce. Commencing 1 July, providers will be required to assist consumers to understand the new Charter and invite them to sign it. This provides an important opportunity for providers and consumers to enter into a partnership.

To view the new Charter of Aged Care Rights, please click here.

The Janus Approach

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    Janus Approach logo_website

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The Janus Approach is a philosophy of care, specific to RSL Care SA, that acknowledges residents are unique individuals, who have a variety of personal needs and preferences.

The Janus Approach is named after the Roman God Janus, the god of beginnings and endings, transitions, doorways and time. Janus frequently symbolised change and transitions such as the progress of past to future, from one condition to another, from one vision to another, opening a new door and commencing that journey.

The Janus Approach aspires to continually improve and enhance the quality of life with all residents by transforming the culture of care in our facilities from task focussed to truly person-centred. The approach enables services and care needs to be adapted to meet the priorities and ‘picture’ of quality of life for each individual resident as well as the group of residents as a whole. Residents of RSL Care SA require care delivery to be person centred and evidenced based ensuring each resident’s physical, cultural, psychological, social, sexual and spiritual needs are addressed.

In order to deliver the Janus Approach, we have identified specialty areas of care provision which are addressed through the ‘Janus Keys’. The leader for each respective ‘key’ is accountable for maintaining current evidenced based practice and applying this in the performance monitoring of care delivery to residents. We currently have six Janus Keys:

In addition to the Janus Keys, Janus Dignity Principles have been developed in partnership with residents, representatives, floor staff, management and the Board of RSL Care SA.

To read more about our Janus Approach, please click here.

The Janus Keys

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The Janus Approach is a philosophy of care, specific to RSL Care SA, that acknowledges residents are unique individuals, who have a variety of personal needs and preferences. In order to deliver the Janus Approach at RSL Care SA, we have identified speciality areas of care provision which are addressed through the ‘Janus Keys’. The leader for each respective ‘key’ is accountable for maintaining current evidenced based practice and applying this in the performance monitoring of care delivery to the residents of RSL Care SA. We currently have six Janus Keys and have intentionally designed this model so that as the approach matures and the needs of residents’ change, additional ‘keys’ can be added.


“To me it is important to have the same routine I would have if I still lived in my own home… I like to read the paper with a coffee in the morning before I start my day”

Margaret, War Veterans Home Resident

The Janus Approach ensures that a comprehensive life history or “Life Story” is gathered for each resident in partnership with the resident and families who wish to be involved. From this life story and with resident and family collaboration, staff are able to determine what quality of life means to each resident. Life stories are taken by staff who have received specific training in this area of assessment and are generally conducted over several weeks as a relationship of trust is built with the individual resident (or family). Dignity for each resident is promoted through an understanding of their individualised goals of care, personal preferences and individual ‘life story’. Staff are assisted to familiarise themselves with these ‘life stories’ in order to deliver the appropriate care as well as adhere to RSL Care SA principles of dignity. These principles were developed in partnership with residents, representatives, floor staff, management and board of RSL Care SA.


“The thing I notice the most is the attention to detail given to the recreational opportunities offered. The staff always put in a big effort to make events special for us”

Kath, RSL Villas Resident

The Janus Approach recognises the need for social and leisure time programs as an integral part of daily living, however programs should have purpose through enhancing and strengthening the physical and psycho-social capabilities of the resident and increasing self-esteem and self-worth. Through this Janus Key we ensure that residents have a wellbeing program that is designed to promote each resident’s independence consistent with individual abilities and wishes, thereby promoting dignity and self-respect. Residents have the choice and opportunity to participate, or not, in programs and to change their mind regarding their preferences. Programs may be active or passive, formal or spontaneous according to the requirements of the individual. They may be provided for a group of residents with common interests, or for an individual to support their own personal interests and abilities.


“Spirituality is a very important part of my life. I believe that there is something in all of us that knows more than we do, and if we follow that line, we will be safe”.

Robert, War Veterans Home Resident

The Janus Approach recognises that all residents have spiritual needs which may not always be based on religious belief or lack of belief. Spirituality is the way we seek and express meaning and purpose; the way we experience our connection to the moment, self, others, our work and the significant or sacred. (Meaningful Ageing Australia 2014). This Janus Key recognises that the need for spiritual comfort can vary along an individual’s life journey. Needs can change when a resident is faced with emotional challenges and significant sense of loss, which can be associated with a move to a new environment, changed circumstance or adjusting to life in an aged care setting. Staff gain an understanding of what spirituality means for each individual and support resident’s spiritual care needs. These also include cultural practices, customs and rituals that residents have undertaken throughout their life and are not isolated to a country of birth


“Mental health is important to maintain and improve upon for our residents because it underpins their overall wellbeing, social interactions, and ability to live out a happy and meaningful life”

Kane, Veteran Support Officer

Mental health illness and disorders are as important as physical care needs and often have as great an impact on physical and social wellbeing. Some examples of mental health conditions experienced by residents within RSL Care SA are depression, anxiety and confusion. These can be suffered by any resident at any time, and individuals respond differently to these conditions and staff work with residents and families to support residents diagnosed with these conditions, ensuring that all staff are aware of how to support residents to achieve the best outcome in-line with the resident’s goals of care.


“The opposite of Loneliness is not Togetherness , It’s Intimacy”

Richard Bach, Author

The Janus Approach recognises that the need for love, affection, physical closeness and contact continues throughout life, including for residents who are living within an aged care setting. People living in an aged care facility will often still have sexual desires and be capable of acting on those desires, as well as having a need to express themselves sexually, however, this may be difficult for residents to disclose as it has always been a topic kept private or only shared with people they trust. As part of this Janus Key and an individual resident’s quality of life, it is also important to understand the level of intimacy they need or desire. Support to achieve emotional connection and intimacy at any level are developed with the resident (or family), to support each individual resident’s need for intimacy and sexual expression in whichever form this may take.


“Good Palliative Care is about quality of life for those living with a life limiting or terminal illness. It is about helping a person to be as comfortable as they can, so they can live as well as possible. “Leaves grow old gracefully, bring such joy in their last lingering days. How vibrant and bright is their final flurry of life.” (by Karen Gibbs)”

Lynne, Palliative Approach Advocate

The Janus Approach adheres to the Palliative Approach in Residential Aged Care (2005). This approach ensures that residents with life limiting illnesses are afforded quality of life throughout their journey within the residential aged care setting. This Janus Key affirms life and respects dying as a normal process. It neither hastens nor postpones death, but rather aims to enhance the quality of life whilst also positively influencing the course of the illness. This Janus Key also recognises that there are three very distinct phases of palliation (greater than 6 months to live, less than 6 months to live, and end of life approaching within a week) and ensures that within each phase the resident is provided with:

  • Autonomy, dignity, comfort and respect
  • Honest, open discussion about conditions and treatment options
  • Access to any available evidence-based treatment options
  • Effective management of pain and other distressing symptoms
  • Quality of life, as defined by them, in the circumstances
  • Assurance that any cultural or spiritual wishes will be upheld
  • Access to the people they wish to be present

Our staff will meet with residents and families on admission and throughout their admission period to ensure that staff and families have a sound understanding of the type of care the residents wishes to be delivered at each stage of palliation.

72 Bed Licenses obtained for Murray Bridge

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    Murray River, Murray Bridge

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Residential aged care in Murray Bridge

72 Bed Licences obtained in the latest Aged Care Allocation Round (ACAR)

At the end of 2017, RSL Care SA purchased the Waterford Estate Retirement Village in Murray Bridge. The seamless transition has seen residents and staff at Waterford quickly become part of our RSL Care SA family.

Part of the Waterford Estate acquisition, was a large block of vacant land on the site. Board and management viewed this as an opportunity to increase our residential aged care offerings, while providing a much needed service to the Murray Bridge community.

Our vision became viable when the government announced an Aged Care Allocation Round (ACAR) late in 2018. This meant residential aged care facilities could apply for additional bed licences. Traditionally ACAR rounds have been very competitive with only a select number of bed licences released. In fact, RSL Care SA was unsuccessful in obtaining additional licences through this process in a previous round.

So, it is with great pleasure that we advise of our success in securing 72 new bed licences for our organisation. Our intent is to build a brand new Residential Aged Care facility on the vacant land at Waterford Estate (subject to the necessary council approvals).

RSL Care SA Chief Executive Officer, Nathan Klinge will be conducting several community forums in Murray Bridge in the near future to discuss our plans. The details of these meetings will be announced in due course, however if you have any queries in the interim, please do not hesitate to call our Corporate Office on 08 8379 2600.

Andrew Russell Veteran Living

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    Kane and Gracie

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Our Andrew Russell Veteran Living program has its second anniversary on the 16th February 2019. This date is significant as it is the date that Andrew Russell was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2002. Andrew’s parents and wife have graciously allowed RSL Care SA to use Andrew’s name for our program to assist contemporary veterans that are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The aim of the program is to provide accommodation support to help veterans get back on their feet.

Kane is one such contemporary veteran who found himself in a situation where he was in need of accommodation assistance so he could move forward with his life. “ARVL provided a roof over my head, it was safe, it was affordable, and I could regain some level of normalcy in my life. It was what I needed at the time.”

Through the ARVL program Kane got to know Program Manager, Ben Challinor, and through volunteering at various RSLs, also got to know RSL Care SA CEO, Nathan Klinge. When an opportunity arose in RSL Care SA, Ben asked Kane if he would be interested in applying for the role of Veteran Support Officer.

A number of people were interviewed for the position, and Kane was subsequently employed and is doing an outstanding job.

Kane was deployed to Afghanistan and unfortunately now suffers from PTSD, after the vehicle he was in hit an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Kane acknowledges he is “still affected by PTSD, but it doesn’t make me useless. I’m still able to come to work and do the work I do, but I struggle at times”.

If Kane could offer one piece of advice to anyone who finds themselves suffering from PTSD it is this: “Seek help. There are plenty of places out there who offer help. If you’re not comfortable with that, then ask your mates. It’s not a bad thing to put your hand up and say you’re not okay”.

As an organisation we are so proud not just of Kane, but that the ARVL program has made such a positive impact on the lives of many veterans the program has assisted over the years.

For more information on ARVL please click here, or to donate to the ARVL program click here.

Your Journey into Retirement

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Are you considering making the move into retirement? There are a few things to think about during the process. Some of our residents have taken as little as 4 weeks and as long as 4 years to journey into retirement, so don’t feel rushed or pressured. Watch the video or skip below to see the list.

4 Steps to Journey into Retirement

  1. Visit Retirement Villages and Gather Information
  2. Prepare your house for sale
  3. Get Independent Specialist Financial advice about in-going, on-going, and out-going costs before purchase
  4. Get Independent Legal Advice about contracts, terms and conditions before purchase

Visiting Retirement Villages

Every village offers unique services, lifestyle options and community aspects so it’s in your best interest to visit multiple and gather information from each one. Before you visit, think through the details and prepare some questions to ask the specialists at the villages, but ask yourself some questions too.

  • Where do I want to live?
  • Is it close to family and friends?
  • Would this village suit my lifestyle?
  • What other services does this provider offer such as in-home care or aged care?
  • What can I contribute to this community?

Preparing your house for sale

Appraisals, decluttering and moving are all elements of preparing your house for sale and downsizing. It’s worth getting multiple appraisals for your home and employing the services of removalists.

Consider the property you’ll be moving into, will your furniture work in the space? Many villages have relationships with removalists and are happy to help you arrange their services. The last two elements are the most important in the process.

Get Independent Legal and Financial Advice

It’s imperative to get independent legal and financial advice to make an informed decision before you move into a retirement village. Know the ins and outs of the contract for signing and also whether you’re going to be comfortable with the fees associated with living in a retirement village.

Have questions? We are more than happy to answer any and also point you in the right direction to some great resources.

We currently have four Retirement Living sites across Adelaide. Each village has a unique community feel with different size homes that suit a variety of budgets.

Residents of RSL Care SA Answer Questions about their Early Life through Art

  • Residents of RSL Care SA Answer Questions about their Early Life through Art

    Residents of RSL Care SA Answer Questions about their Early Life through Art

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A personal project by a year 9 student from Immanuel College

RSL Care SA was thrilled when Immanuel College year 9 student, Alina, asked to interview residents at the War Veterans Home for her Personal Project. Alina used her project to identify to her classmates the importance of respecting our elderly and recognising the lives they have lived and the history they can teach us. Alina achieved this by asking the residents questions about their lives as young men and women, giving them the opportunity to use art to express their stories.

Thank you for sharing your project with us Alina, you did a great job!

Occupational Therapy Australia Week

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October the 21st to 27th  is Occupational Therapy Australia Week, to coincide with World Occupation Therapy Day on Sunday the 27th of October

At RSL Care SA we are very excited to have a full time Occupational Therapist (OT) on our staff. Working closely with the Physiotherapists, Veteran Support Officer and Wellbeing department, our OT allows us to respond to the individual needs and preferences of our residents by delivering a range of tailored activities and services. This has allowed us to further explore the services we can offer to veterans living with PTSD, specifically the younger generation of Vietnam veterans who are now beginning to access residential aged care.

What is an OT?

Occupational Therapists are qualified health professionals who facilitate people of all ages and abilities to participate in activities that will allow them to live fulfilling lives. OT’s are client-centred and use ongoing assessments and observations to understand what is important to their client and what difficulties they may be facing that prevents them from participating in occupations of every day life. With the use of therapeutic activities, strategies, adaptions and/or equipment, OT’s will then work with the client to help them achieve their goals. This may include facilitating changes to the clients environment to make life easier and safer (e.g. have a pipe for a ball ramp so residents with limited arm movement can still play bowls). OT’s can also instruct direct care workers about how to safely support a person and respect their preferences in daily life. Essentially, OT’s work with people who, for whatever reason (physically, mentally, emotionally or environmentally), are having difficulties doing what need or want to enjoy life.

At RSL Care SA, our Occupational Therapist works as part of the Wellbeing Team to enable, facilitate and support the residents’ access to tasks and activities they wish to engage in. Working closely with the Physiotherapy department, our OT helps residents to balance abilities and task demands to help them maintain their independence while ensuring all care needs are met. Our OT also works with nursing and care staff in our Memory Support Unit to help residents adapt to their new lifestyle.

OT week activities

This years OT week theme is “Celebrating our global community” and we have lots of activities happening at both of our Residential Aged Care sites:

  • The Pick-Up-Stick challenge will teach residents new skills and ways to use helpful gadgets and aids
  • A ‘Tech Education’ session will help to advise and orientate residents to their technological gadgets
  • The 2018 Invictus Games are very fittingly being held on the same week as OT week! our residents will be watching and supporting the Invictus Games, learning about what the games are all about, how the athletes have adapted their performance to their unique and individual needs to reach their goals, and participating in a few adapted games themselves!

For further information about OT week and the OT profession  please visit the following links:

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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