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Everyone’s care needs are different, so why do so many aged care systems have set care levels and prices, whether you need it or not? It doesn’t seem fair.

Glenvale Villas Supported Living here in Toowoomba is a new alternative in aged care, offering independence in self-contained homes with a flexible system of user-pays care and support, that changes with you.

What does that mean?

It means that you only pay for what you use. If your care needs go up or down, so does your care and support. 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. All in the privacy of your own home at Glenvale Villas

We call it our Continuous Care approach.

A couple living together may have different needs, and each person may have needs that change for themselves, so our care is completely individualised. No set package, no set care level. It’s all based on your needs right now, developed in consultation with your doctor, your family and our Directors of Care to make sure it is exactly right and planned for your future.

We are all living longer and staying healthier, so why be locked into a level of care that may not suit you now, or even for a long time to come? Care needs can change slowly or very quickly.

We think it’s a lifestyle that works in tune with seniors living longer and wanting more out of life.

That’s why our residents said NO to a nursing home, and happily live at Glenvale Villas Supported Living.

At Glenvale Villas, we are always looking to keep our residents as healthy as possible. The better the health, the less chance of illness, and the better our lifestyles are. We have more energy, more involvement and a happier disposition.

So what are some of the super foods that can help us as we age?


Yes, the humble banana is not just a school snack or half of the essential ingredients for a banana split.

Bananas are one of nature’s richest sources of potassium and are also crammed with vitamins, minerals and slow release, fat-free carbohydrates.

Perfect for a diet high in potassium, which is a must for the young at heart as it helps to keep blood pressure normal.

Potassium is needed for muscles to contract, the transmission of nerve impulses and the proper functioning of your body’s heart and kidneys. Research also suggests that a diet high in potassium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.

So it’s all good.

Once past 50 years, the requirement for vitamin B6 increases by about 20%, as aging is associated with less efficient absorption and processing of some essential nutrients. With vitamin B6 being important for a healthy immune system and a healthy cardiovascular system, you can see the value of high B6 foods. One medium banana will provide a quarter of your daily needs and helps meet the extra B6 needs during the senior years.

Once past your 70th birthday, calcium requirements also increase by 300mg a day to help prevent brittle bones (osteoporosis) in both men and women.

With tooth loss, gum disease or poorly fitting dentures, all of which are more likely as we age, chewing can become difficult. No surprise that the soft-eating properties of the ripe banana make them the ideal fruit in this situation.

There is now growing research showing that fruit, and the banana in particular, is assisting the immune function of the body. Not only does the banana have antioxidants, it also sees to boost the natural antioxidant levels in the body.

Glenvale Villas Supported Living Community recently marked its 100th resident milestone with a celebratory morning tea attended by Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio.

Along with Mayor Antonio, Cr Geoff McDonald, and Chamber of Commerce CEO Greg Johnson were special guests invited to attend a celebratory morning tea hosted by Glenvale Villas to mark the occasion.

 The Mayor kindly assisted with a tribute paid to the 100th resident, Jean Waugh, who received flowers and the honour of cutting the celebration cake.

The restaurant, decorated with purple and white balloons and fresh flowers, was a buzz of excitement as everyone enjoyed delicious savoury canapés and beautifully presented sweet treats that were generously washed down with tea and coffee.

Entertainer Scott Tweety added to the festive atmosphere, providing music enjoyed by all.

Project manager Lynda Gallagher and Gregg Hewitt were also on hand to show their support, and were overjoyed with the overall success of the event.

“The 100th resident is such an important milestone for Glenvale Villas, and we congratulate Jean Waugh on choosing our supported living community,” said Lynda.

“Since our first resident moved in back in April, 2007, Glenvale Villas has continued its mission to provide top quality care for our residents within a supported living community that is safe, private, friendly and professional.”

“Glenvale Villas, recognised among industry peers as the best of its kind in Queensland and nationally, has played a key role in reshaping the concept of aged care and retirement living as a Supported Living Community.”

“This is something we felt was really needed in the Toowoomba area.”

“Glenvale Villas is one of the longest and most successful supported living communities in Australia today in an emerging sector that is committed to improving the future of aged care for all Australians,” said Lynda.

“We thank manager Gayle Gardiner and all the Glenvale Villas staff for their ongoing professionalism and support, and for making the 100th resident celebration such a memorable event.”

The Glenvale Villas Supported living community at Toowoomba has received outstanding industry recognition again at the 2012 Service Integrated Housing: “Choices for an Ageing” Australia conference recently held on the Gold Coast.

For the second year in a row, the highly successful supported living community has been showcased at the Aged Care Queensland sponsored conference as a leader in the ongoing development of an evolving alternative aged care model that is reshaping Australia’s approach to aged care.

Gregg Hewitt, a director of FutureCare – which project manages Glenvale Villas, said it was an honour to be invited to present the supported living community’s success journey to delegates at the conference.

“Glenvale Villas at Toowoomba, is one of the longest and most successful supported living communities in Australia today in an emerging sector that is committed to improving the future of aged care for all Australians,” said Gregg.

“It was a pleasure to provide delegates with information and statistics generated from the successful operation of the supported living community, which I hope was invaluable in providing a clearer overview of what works in the best interest of ageing Australians who want an alternative to traditional nursing homes.”

“At last year’s ACQ conference – Serviced Integrated Housing into the 21st Century, Glenvale Villas and sister supported living community, Fairways, were the highlight of comprehensive case studies.

“They were selected because they were the most successful in economic times.”

Gregg said continued accolades by industry peers at the conference were indicative that our supported living communities really have a future in this sector nationally.

“Such praise confirms we are, and will continue to, deliver an exciting, innovative alternative to aged care,” he said.

December is always a busy month at Glenvale Villas.

In keeping with our philosophy of “no such thing as ordinary,” December saw many great events and activities at Glenvale Villas Supported Living.

For a start, it’s a busy month anyway with Christmas and New Years, but true to form, our activity co-ordinators don’t rest there.

We had a monthly breakfast outing, at Cafe Inferno with delicious treats and great coffee.

And then for the flip side we had a great trip to a good old rural pub, the Royal Hotel in Leyburn. Broncos and sporting legend, Shane Webke, actually owns this historic watering hole, which has a great claim to fame as the oldest continually licensed premises in Queensland. Built over 140 years ago, the hotel has a great story (like most good hotels do). In fact the original licensee and builder of the hotel, James Murray, managed to stick around for only the first six months of the hotel’s life, when he died from effects of drinking to excess! Fancy that.

Of course, we did our best to ensure that our Glenvale residents didn’t try that themselves!

The Darling Downs has some very old places, and Leyburn was a gold mining town back in the 1860s, and one of the first settlements here. It survived the gold rush as the community became a popular rural farming area.

Shane wasn’t there the day our Glenvale Villas bus rocked up, but he did grow up on a small sheep property just outside of town. That’s a big step up from there to the Broncos, and the community is justly proud of him. Maybe that sheep farm has something to do with his nickname ‘warhorse’.

The Empire Theatre here in Toowoomba was also the scene for a great event which Glenvale Villas residents attended this month; the Four Tenors. What simply amazing voices, and the historic majesty of the Empire Theatre was a fitting location to hear those soaring harmonies. Made us wish we could all sing like that!

Everyone loves Christmas Lights, no matter if you are 9 or 90, so we piled the Glenvale bus full of excited residents and took off for a tour of Toowoomba Lights. As usual, Towoombans outdid themselves with some fantastic arrangements, all culminating in a great walk around Queens Park to admire the lights up close. Ah, makes you feel like a kid again!

Christmas was a joyous occasion, complete with choir, amazing food and decked out restaurant. I’m sure there were plenty of post Christmas lunch naps to be had!

Finally the month, and year, ended with a bang on New Years, giving us all a reason to enjoy a glass of champagne and look forward to the year ahead.

Lifestyle is important, especially as you age. Maintaining regular exercise, a healthy diet and even social ties, may all positively impact your health, contribute to your mental alertness and certainly to your happiness. That’s why should you be looking at your aged care options, and why it’s a good idea to look at the whole package.

Assisted living providers, such as supported living communities, in general will provide you with an apartment or ‘space’, meals, access to health care and a range of shared facilities and services. These might include a restaurant or dining room, a ‘library’ of books, a BBQ area and lounges. Retirement villages may bring in hairdressers and physiotherapists to provide services to residents.

The range and type of facilities and services may vary considerably. It’s a good idea therefore to fully investigate any accommodation you are considering. Be sure to ask about the type of meals provided, and if there are healthy options. You might enquire about exercise programs or classes, about outings, and even if you might have access to social groups. Take the time to speak to various staff, and walk around any potential retirement villages and communities to try and get a feel for the place.

Your choice of assisted living accommodation is a major one. It may of course become your home for years to come, so consider any options as you would a new home. This is especially true of location. If you enjoy living on the Gold Coast, with its lifestyle and facilities, then considering aged care accommodation in the same location is a good idea.

If you are looking at assisted living options, you will soon realise there are various types of providers and levels of assistance. In working out where to go, it’s a good idea to consider your potential long-term needs. The location, facilities and even staffing levels may all also impact on your decision.

Traditionally, retirement villages have been seen as stepping-stones to nursing homes, but it is possible now to find alternatives, like Fairways Supported Living, that cater to all care levels. What that means is that you might be able to move into a community or village with minimal care, and maximum independence, knowing that should the time come and you require extra assistance, you will be able to receive it. You won’t need to move again, you can be looked after in the place that has become your home. Many people are finding this an attractive option.

Of course, when it comes to assisted living, there are many factors that may sway your decision. The quality of the apartments or rooms, the space provided, range of facilities and cost may play a part. Consider also the location of your potential new home. If you love to get out and about on the Gold Coast, and shop and catch with friends and family for dinner, choosing somewhere that’s centrally located may make sense.

Finally, in considering your aged care options, it’s important to trust your instincts. Take the time to visit any potential places and to speak to staff. Knowing you have caring and friendly individuals in place to support you, and help you settle into your new home, may make a big difference to your choice.

Our median age is rising, people are living longer, and aged care is something of a hot topic. There are been some negative reports in recent years on the state of aged care in Australia, and nursing homes in particular. While retirement villages have tended to have a better reputation, in truth, there are pros and cons to both nursing homes and retirement villages.

For anyone looking to retain a degree of independent living, a retirement village may seem the better choice. Retirement villages may provide residents with their own ‘space’, be it an apartment or unit, while facilities are shared, but many do not have access to medical care if required. For many people, a retirement village seems the logical next step after downsizing or moving out of the family home, as long as they are healthy.

Of course the quality of accommodation and range of services may vary greatly from one retirement village to the next, and this seems to be one issue that people have concerns about. For anyone looking to retain independent living, it is essential that the accommodation feels like a home, with the right amount of space, quality furnishings, and a wide range of facilities.

Some retirement villages or retirement communities may offer not only a better quality environment, but a whole range of facilities and services. These might include access to exercise programs, dining rooms and cafes, hairdressing services and outings. Knowing what’s available, and what to expect, will help ensure you make the right decision.

The largest drawback for most retirement villages is access to care and support. As we age, our needs change, but the village does not. At some point, the retirement village may no longer be suitable for our stage of life. Unfortunately many people may then find themselves in a difficult situation that requires selling of the retirement village home before they can move on – something that is not easy if health concerns become a priority.

In looking at your aged care options, it’s wise to undertake thorough research.

Traditionally, nursing homes have provided support for seniors who can no longer care for themselves at home. Support might range from low-level care (help with eating meals, dressing, showering etc.) to high-level care (24-hour nursing care). Over the years, lifestyle based alternatives to nursing homes have emerged, such as retirement villages, which may suit a healthier, active lifestyle. The major shortcomings with retirement villages is a lack of care and support. If you are planning for the future, and wondering about your best options, consider the following as an introduction to the pros and cons of nursing homes.

A nursing home may provide an environment where nursing and medical care is on hand 24 hours a day. This may be a great option for some seniors, and obviously essential in some cases. As such, a nursing home may be a good option for those with dementia or other physical conditions that mean they are unable to move around freely. A nursing home will in general provide all meals, will help bathe, feed and dress residents, and may provide facilities such as lounges, and bring in services such as hairdressers.

A nursing home is about shared accommodation: shared facilities, and in some cases, shared rooms. That means having to get used to living with a large group of people, which many see as the primary shortcoming of a nursing home. You may also need to be income tested to obtain a spot and/or provide a bond and ongoing service fees.

Nursing homes may vary considerably from one to the next, and there are some retirement villages and communities now that do provide higher levels of care. Your best bet therefore is to research all of your options. That way you can be clear on your choices, and find the best aged care for your own circumstances.

There’s no doubt Australians are living longer, and quality of senior life is of course a paramount issue. As you age, there is often the need to move into assisted living, be it a nursing home, retirement village or a retirement community. Nursing homes in particular have received some criticism in recent years, and it is worth being aware of both pros and possible shortcomings, to help work out if a nursing home is your best option.

Nursing homes in essence will provide you with either a single or shared room. Meals are provided, and you will generally have access to facilities such as lounges and barbecue areas (these may vary considerably from one nursing home to the next). Nursing homes may provide 24-hour medical care, and as such are a good option for those with higher care needs. Dementia patients or those with who require physical care may benefit from moving to a nursing home.

In terms of negatives, some may find it hard to adjust to the loss of personal freedom and privacy, especially when looking at a shared room environment. The standard of food and service may vary considerably from one provider to the next. It’s also essential to be aware of the full cost of nursing homes as an up-front cost, and ongoing fees, are standard in many cases. If moving to a nursing home, you may need to divulge financial information such as your property and asset worth.

It’s vital, when moving to a nursing home, that you fully investigate all options. If you are relatively active and healthy, you might prefer to look at a retirement village, which may afford more independence. Alternatively, there are supported living communities, such as Fairways Supported Living, that combine higher care assistance with a level of independence. Wherever you decide, it’s essential that you have adequate care and support to help live your senior years to the fullest.