With over 40 years’ experience in aged care on the Central Coast, Jo Luhr brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding to her role as Regional Care Manager NSW. As well as being a Registered Nurse, she holds a Diploma of Applied Science, Bachelor of Nursing and Master of Science in Dementia Studies. She is responsible for supporting the Glengara Care team and Care Managers to perform their roles, providing guidance and education in areas like clinical nursing and manual handling.
Jo started with RetireAustralia in January 2020, because she was inspired by Glengara Care’s focus on family, belonging and wellness, and supporting people to age in place. A key motivation for her is to ensure the Glengara Care team delivers relationship-focused care rather than task-focused care. “If you can make a connection about something that’s important in their life, you can build that trust. Then the resident knows you’re on their side and you’re here for them. It’s not about a checklist.”
Jo is also well aware of the challenges and vulnerabilities that come with moving into a care apartment. With this in mind, she does everything she can to make the transition as seamless as possible for residents and their families. This might be as simple as poring through old photo albums, playing favourite movies, or taking someone into the garden and letting them direct the weeding and planting from a shady spot. It can also involve enabling them to visit friends and providing a pleasant and inviting environment for family to visit.
“Many retirement villages aren’t equipped to support a resident if their care needs increase. So the resident will be re-located and they lose their community, their friends, and their home. To be able to age in place in an area that’s familiar, surrounded by loved ones, with friends next door and still feel valued – that’s important to me.”
Jo finds joy in being on the water with family and friends. “To me, family and a sense of togetherness is the most important thing.” That same value infuses her professional life, as she says the most important part of her role is ensuring residents “feel they belong and have a sense of purpose and can live well within their community”.