How Colin’s Sprinter brings the ocean to Oceania residents
For Colin Prince, his job is all about community. Working as a driver at Oceania Healthcare means that he is the connection between residents in the facility and their carefully organised outings - and he loves how much his role means to the residents.
“We have a lot of fun on these outings,” he says.“
“Sometimes I get feedback from the residents saying that was the best trip they’ve ever done and I get a real kick out of it.”
Working at Oceania for 10 years has meant that Colin has covered a lot of ground, transporting residents around the local areas.
“I’m always trying to find new locations to go to,” he says, “which gets quite difficult after years of permanent driving as I feel like I’ve been everywhere possible.”
It’s a good problem to have. The real joy for him is seeing these locations through the eyes of residents who perhaps haven’t been there before, or for whom the places hold special memories
“The residents often open up about their life and the memories they have, especially if we are at a location they used to come to when they were younger,” he says.
The outings can range from beaches and parks, and even to the top of Auckland volcanoes, which makes them very popular amongst the residents.
With the trips such a highlight for the residents, they needed a spacious, comfortable and adaptable mode of transport. That’s why Oceania Healthcare invested in a Sprinter van to get the residents safely around the community.
“We used to have a different make that wasn’t nice to drive,” Colin explains. “But the Mercedes-Benz being automatic makes my life easier as I get more time to concentrate on driving and looking after residents.”
TheSprinter also makes room for the residents’ needs, with Colin pointing out that
“there’s enough space in the Sprinter that if we need to, we can get them a cup of tea in the back - and it also has enough space to fit two wheelchairs.”
Oceania Healthcare and Colin have also been able to customise the Sprinter to tailor to the needs of the residents. “There are hoists that have been added in and these customisations make it easier to transport people.”
Adjustments have also been made, by adding more interior lights to aid night travel, as well as some more safety measures that have some unexpected benefits.
“The van also has an automatic step to make getting in and out of the van a lot easier - and it also gives the residents a little bit of exercise!”
The Sprinter prioritises comfort, which is clear in the smoothness of the drive, which Colin compares to being behind the wheel of a car.
“The steering is almost like fingertip steering and does not require a lot of effort.”
The residents have also responded well to the sleek, controlled drive.
“Previously with people sitting in the back they would get motion sickness quite quickly, but the Mercedes-Benz has reduced that.”
For Colin, having a van to help the residents explore their community is key to their happiness.
“They feel like they have more autonomy and it’s something different from their day to day routine,” he says.
It’s people like Colin, whose love of the job and willingness to chat, who help the residents connect with the world around them - and we are proud to be a part of their journey.