Graham Harvey: Talking retirement living
Graham Harvey is the Property Manager for Carinity sites around Central Queensland – including aged care communities, schools and youth support centres in Rockhampton, Mount Morgan, Yeppoon and Gladstone. Since 1994 he has overseen the Carinity Shalom retirement village in Rockhampton, where he also lives.
What were your occupations before joining Carinity and what inspired you to a career supporting seniors?
I helped my parents farming then worked in banking for 23 years. There are a number of events where the hand of God prepared me for work in the senior area.
One of my grandmas had to get around in a wheelchair when at home for over 40 years of her life. Later, I regularly visited her in a nursing home in Ipswich, which had an impact on me.
Another significant moment was when working in a Bundaberg bank. Three gentlemen involved with a church were looking to be guarantors for a loan to finance building some units for retired people. As I took that loan application, I had a real peace that what they were doing was good – and thinking it would be good to support seniors like that one day.
What are the best things about the Shalom retirement village?
There are a number of reasons why people move into our retirement village. The buildings are low-set; units are built with seniors in mind; the beautiful flatland and walking tracks to the lagoon recreational area; the sense of community and social activities; and the security of having community lighting at night.
It continues to amaze me that when people visit Shalom they comment how peaceful the place is. That peace does not happen by coincidence, and we acknowledge those faithful servants who have gone before us and helped pave the way with prayer, support and a genuine commitment with their talents and expertise.
What are your favourite memories of Shalom?
A favourite social event for years was the Garden Party and Fashion Parade. I recall the first event in 1994 had approximately 70 people in attendance. This annual event ran for a further
20 years peaking with crowds of over 500. Breakfast at the Lagoon was another popular
event that stood the test of time and ran for nearly 20 years until COVID-19 changed dynamics a little.
Which factor do seniors most consider when deciding which retirement village to move into?
The common question everyone asks is about social activities. Acknowledging the importance
of having that opportunity for communication is important for many people’s wellbeing. The local resident committee at Shalom does a wonderful job organising various activities in the community hall to help residents get together and stay in touch.
How do people respond to Shalom retirement village being co-located with an aged care
The top reason for choosing our village is the security of knowing there is ongoing care should
residents require it. In the case of husband and wife, if one of them needs to move to higher care, it’s much easier for the other to just walk there to visit. Also, it’s much easier for friends they have made in the retirement village to stay in touch.
What is your advice for people thinking about moving into a retirement village?
A retirement village provides a wonderful place for people to call home and be part of a
community with people from various walks of life and of a similar age.
When people move into retirement while still in good health, they can settle into a
very comfortable lifestyle. The vast majority of people who live here have said to me it’s the
best thing they have done.
Read more stories from Belong: Spring 2022 | Edition 27