Helping seniors stay independent longer

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ECH (Enabling Confidence at Home) was founded in 1964 by Garnet E. Rundle, a war veteran who identified the need and opportunity to provide affordable housing for South Australians in need, particularly ageing war widows.

ECH started with 12 units and within three years that number grew to more than 1000 units across Adelaide.

Today, ECH has close to 1700 units across 105 villages spread across metropolitan Adelaide, Victor Harbor and Ardrossan.

David Panter joined ECH as chief executive in 2015 and says ECH now supports more than 15,000 older people to live confidently and independently at home and the best life possible as they age.

"ECH is celebrating its 55th anniversary this year and has grown to be one of the largest independent providers of retirement village accommodation and ageing care services in South Australia," he said.

"ECH has three retirement villages in Victor Harbor, one wellness centre offering exercise classes and allied health services such as podiatry, physio and massage and one further multipurpose centre offering respite services, bus trips and workshops."

"ECH is proud to have been the first South Australian independent village operator to attain Quality Innovation Performance (QIP) accreditation; meeting the standards set by the International Retirement Community Accreditation Scheme."

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These standards include high levels of safety and quality, good governance, environmental sustainability and a genuine commitment to continuous quality improvement across all retirement villages.

ECH is a multifaceted organisation that provides a range of services that enable people to have the best life possible as they age such as allied health services including physio, podiatry and massage as well as exercise classes, carer support via a number of respite programs plus nursing and home support services.

ECH also runs several community events and initiatives to help older people remain socially connected to their local communities which include walking groups, bus trips, art and gardening workshops and events.

"ECH believes that all people have the right to self-determine and have the best life possible as they age," Mr Panter said.

"For many people, they wish to remain living independently, whether that be in a retirement village or in their own family home and can achieve this through access to the broad range of services ECH offers."

"The idea of spending quality time with friends and grandchildren rather than having to maintain a garden or worry about having to pay council rates, water rates and building insurance, is very attractive to people who are living on fixed incomes such as the pension, or on superannuation."

"ECH retirement villages in Victor Harbor are very popular for those living in the area who are looking to downsize, as well as those looking for a lifestyle change away from the city."

"ECH has a total of 64 units across three villages in the Victor Harbor area; with five recently refurbished units currently available."

A typical ECH village has between eight and 12 units that feature contemporary décor, blinds, reverse-cycle airconditioning and an energy-efficient washing machine and refrigerator.

The grounds and gardens of every village are tended by a team of ECH professionals, and maintenance in and around the home is also included.

ECH retirement village residents can also access independent living services information about how to obtain additional services such as exercise classes, allied health services, domestic assistance, transport, carer support and social activities.

For more information on ECH services, call 1300 275 324 or go to ech.asn.au

This story Helping seniors to remain independent first appeared on The Times.