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Sun-Life visit spreads smiles

Perry Park resident Rae Perin was delighted to learn how to write her name in ‘kanji’, one of three Japanese alphabets, when the Sun-Life exchange group visited the Port Noarlunga home in September.

The group of 14 professionals from the aged care sector in Japan visited ACH Group sites to engage with staff, customers and volunteers to learn more about our Good Lives approach.

During their visit to Perry Park, the group exchanged gifts including tiny hand-stitched fabric animals, created by a Sun-Life resident as part of her rehabilitation project.

Host Michaela Kristan, who travelled to Japan with six other ACH Group hosts in October, said the residents were delighted to learn how to write their names using unique calligraphy pens.

“It was so interesting to see how each name looked. The group left the calligraphy pens and paper behind as a gift, so that everyone could keep practicing,” she says.

Michaela, a support worker for ACH Group’s Community West group, says despite the language barrier, it was obvious the group enjoyed their time at ACH Group.

“There were lots of smiles and lots of laughter,” she says. “They told us through the interpreter that they really enjoyed the visit.”

The group finished its South Australian exchange with a visit to Gorge Wildlife Park, the Whispering Wall and wine tasting in the Barossa Valley.

The Sun-Life exchange program has been undertaken for the past decade with annual visits to Australia and bi-annual visits by ACH Group employees to Japan.

This year’s Sun-Life group was predominantly managers seeking to learn about supporting a diverse workforce, marketing to attract customers, reducing employee turnover, employee engagement and the role of head office.

A total of 40 presenters across six sites were involved in the program, which included a ‘Welcome to Country’ dance from Aboriginal group Yellaka, lawn bowls with the Younger Onset Dementia group at Payneham and a behind-the-scenes event at the Adelaide Showground and a tour of ViTA at Daw Park.