Meet Jo Kitchell, our Lifestyle & Wellbeing Coordinator at Arilla Village
How long have you been with the Arilla Village team?
13 months and time has flown!
What attracted you to working in a retirement village?
Previously I had my own business conducting outdoor group training sessions and nursing post-acute care in the home. My role at Arilla incorporates my passions, experience and more.
What’s the best thing about working in a retirement village?
I feel appreciated by my team and the residents. No day is the same.
What does a typical day involve for a Lifestyle & Wellbeing Coordinator?
Conduct box fit and Fit ball classes, organise monthly seminars, wellbeing checks, My Aged Care Referrals when necessary, cyclical emergency equipment audits, assist in initial set up of special interest groups, first aid, following up on any possible emergency notification to check on residents’ wellbeing and liaise with Allied Health Professionals.
What type of activities have you helped organise for our residents?
We have introduced Cuppa club, Yoga, BELL group (Blokes Enjoying Leisure and Life), Darts, Box fit, Fit ball and Arilla Awesome Walkers. There are many activities that residents coordinate.
What inspired you to start a walking group?
Simply to encourage residents to be active.
When did it begin and how many residents are involved now?
It began in May and we have 20 residents at the moment, which I think is fantastic at this time of year.
When did it turn into a ‘walk around Australia’ project?
Karen, our village manager suggested the residents walk to Sydney, but they did this in a matter of two weeks so I thought, well let’s keep going and walk all the way around Australia.
Progress update – how far have they walked and where in Australia are they now?
We started at our village in South Morang, headed up the east coast and then along the North coast. We reached Darwin last week and now on our way to Broome.
How is progress tracked?
Residents have the option of recording their walk in kilometres, steps or laps of our park or village. Some use smart phones, other pedometers and a number of residents like to walk the park of our village, which I have measured.
Have you noticed a difference in participating residents’ wellbeing?
A large number of residents now find walking a daily routine that is a must. They have more energy and have lost weight. Everyone does it when and if they can, but with the sense of working in a team. Each week I calculate their totals and map our progress which provides great incentive to keep going.
"My role at Arilla incorporates my passions, experience and more" - Jo Kitchell, Lifestyle & Wellbeing Coordinator