Lifestyle at Kalyna Care

Our warm, homely atmosphere is drawn from longstanding Ukrainian and European traditions.

Daily life at Kalyna Care is a warm and homely experience where everyone contributes – our staff, residents and their families. We are all involved in creating a high quality of living and a strong sense of belonging within our residence.

A European ambience throughout our home provides comfort and familiarity, with cultural and traditional décor, activities and meals. Our residents are encouraged to speak their own language, and we are engaged with local community and events to maintain connections. We support social connections, cultural activities, and festive days that help our residents stay connected to what they have always loved.


At Kalyna Care, our care approach focuses on enabling people to participate and contribute to everyday life, to the best of their ability and in a meaningful way. 

Our programs encompass the social, physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual aspects of our residents’ lives, honouring and respecting them as individuals and for what they bring to their community, regardless of age or ability. 

We support our residents to participate in activities which may take them out of their comfort zone, and love to hear them say that they are “so happy to learn something new”.

Old wooden spinnning top

Residents participate in various activities that encourage contribution, engagement and a sense of belonging. Some of these activities are listed below:

  • Arts and crafts
  • Listening to music
  • Happy hour
  • Singing and mini concerts
  • Cooking
  • Gardening
  • Puzzle therapy
  • Reminiscing and conversation
  • Movement to music and dancing
  • Hand massage and manicures
  • Beauty regime
  • Table and floor games
  • Home maintenance activities
  • Pet therapy
  • Watering house plants
  • Flower arranging
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Sorting socks
  • Growing and tending to fresh herbs, vegatables, fruit and flowers in the gardens.
  • Armchair travels and add daily walking train
  • Reminiscing in the garden

Our popular Leisure and Lifestyle program is a comprehensive, seven day a week program for the enjoyment and participation of our residents.
The program includes:

  • Cultural, religious and traditional events are celebrated at the residence in our chapel hall.
  • Special events and invitations to various community groups to visit us onsite such as school groups, Ukrainian community groups, culturally specific volunteers, clergy and more.
  • Individual, small or large group activities which involve physical, intellectual, emotional and social needs, for example, spas, painting, cooking, and activity stations.
  • Entertainment such as music, shows and dancing.
  • Pets visiting us to spend time with our residents, as part of our pet therapy program. We have a resident cat called Mia who lives in one of our courtyards and is part of our pet therapy program (see more below about pets at Kalyna).

Residents and families have the opportunity to contribute to the ongoing development of the Leisure and Lifestyle program to ensure it continues to meet their needs, through their suggestions and feedback at monthly Resident and Representative meetings.

We celebrate our multiculturalism and our Croatian, Serbian and Macedonian community has grown over time. As a result we hold social gatherings for residents with a combined cultural social club.

The Leisure and Lifestyle team, along with residents’ families, provide food and entertainment.
For example, we regularly have a Ukrainian ‘zabava’ (party) with dancing, music and cultural food. Our residents love these events and create happy lasting memories.

Residents and families of all cultures enjoy taking part in their own and each other’s clubs.

Faith-based activities include weekly Ukrainian and monthly Croatian, Polish and Roman Catholic Church services, and we celebrate important festive and cultural days. Below are some of the events we celebrate at Kalyna Care with our residents and their families.

Christmas and New Year Activities

Christian/Catholic (traditional) Christmas: 25th December (by the Gregorian calendar)

Orthodox Christmas: 7th January (by the Julian calendar). Orthodox Christmas is observed until 19th January (New Year’s Eve). Our Christmas decorations are placed around the first week of December and are removed on the 14th January.

Resident and Family Christmas Lunch: We have resident and family Christmas lunch events usually in the second week of December, and generally held over three days. The various wings of our residence have their own day. Two family members are invited to enjoy a traditional (Aussie/English) lunch with their loved one in the residence. Entertainment is often provided, and we draw a Christmas raffle at the lunch.

During the Christmas period, we have Ukrainian (and sometimes other cultures) carolers. The Sisters of St Basil and church groups sing carols to our residents.

Sviata Vecheria: The Ukrainian Christmas Eve Dinner on 6th January (by the Julian calendar) is preceded by a Ukrainian Catholic Christmas Mass on the day (which all Catholic residents attend), and then a special traditional dinner in our main wing which many Catholic and Orthodox residents attend. The same traditional dinner is served throughout the residence, and it consists of twelve particular foods that represent the Twelve Apostles.

Christian Easter Activities

Orthodox Easter: This usually occurs one to two weeks after the Christian Easter.

Blessing of the Baskets: Held on the Orthodox Easter Saturday, this Mass is conducted by the Ukrainian Catholic (and sometimes the Ukrainian Orthodox) priest around 3pm. This is a large community event attended by our families (outside of COVID restrictions) and they bring baskets of traditional food to be blessed by the priests. The families then share the food with their family at Kalyna Care.

Easter traditions:  We bake and enjoy eating Paska which is traditional Ukrainian Easter bread. We also create Pysanky, a traditional Easter egg decorated with folk ornaments. Traditional pysanky are painted using wax-resist method.

Like our Christmas festivities, we celebrate Easter for a period of about two weeks starting at the Christian Easter and finishing with the Orthodox Easter.

Other Holidays

Malanka: This ancient holiday combines Christian and pagan traditions and is celebrated by Ukrainians yearly on 13th January. The holiday used to mark the beginning of a new year before the calendar was changed from Julian to Gregorian. Traditional Malanka is a vivid and loud festival with quirky costumes, songs, and acting.

Independence and National Days: We also recognise the Independence and National Days of each of our nations represented at the residence. These can be celebrated with an afternoon tea of traditional foods and entertainment when possible. The Ukrainian Independence Day is on 24th August.

Ivana Kupala: On 6th July we celebrate Ivana Kupala and make flower wreaths which are used as decorations. 

We also celebrate Christmas in July. 

Animals have always been welcome at Kalyna Care, with families and staff often bringing their fur babies to visit. Our residents thoroughly enjoy pets visiting.
We have a resident pet cat called Mia who is very loved by the residents. She lives onsite and travels around the residence in her special cat pram to visit everyone. Our residents enjoy pushing the pram when they are on their walking train, which is a walking group that picks up residents along the route on the premises for exercise.

We also organise special animal activities as part of our pet therapy program.

We have yearly chicken hatchlings when eggs are brought in a special incubator. Residents watch as the chickens hatch from the eggs and spend time each day with the little chicks who are taken to each wing for the residents to enjoy petting.

We also enjoy activities such as onsite petty farms and animal encounters. We have had animals from small bunny rabbits, a calf, sheep, goat, rooster, to snakes, possums, salt water crocodiles and various Australian native birds in our animal encounters.

Our Lifestyle Coordinators organise bus outings in our ten-seater wheelchair accessible bus. Residents have enjoyed trips for morning tea at the Macedon Ranges, picking fruit at Werribee, going to Altona Beach and everything in between.

Download the latest leisure and lifestyle monthly calendars

Dining and Meals

We cater to our residents’ traditional and cultural tastes, and have numerous European-based dishes on the menu.

  • Borshch
  • Fish and chips
  • Chicken Kyiv
  • Varennyky (Pierogi)
  • Deruny
  • Shopska salad
  • Fried prawns with aioli sauce
  • Salt and pepper squid
  • Chicken parmigiana
  • Chicken drumstick
  • Beef stroganoff
  • Sweet varennyky with cherries
  • Nalysnyky with berries
  • Trifle
  • Rice pudding
  • Syrnyky with berries
  • Vanilla slice with berries

We serve wine every Friday at lunch and during happy hour.

Our Hotel Services Manager creates seasonal menus based on the feedback of our residents who tell us what they like to eat. Before we release the menus, we share them with our residents’ families and representatives. Once we have their feedback, our chef finalises the meals. Meals are prepared with the freshest produce. Everything is cut, chopped and prepared in our kitchen.

Varennyky on white plate

Your Story Book

When you come to Kalyna Care, we record your life story for you and your family. This also helps us get to know you, connecting to your heritage and traditions. In 2011 we began publishing ‘Your Story book’, featuring stories of new and current residents.

Your story and traditions are an essential part of the way of life at Kalyna Care, forming the community that residents and their families have come to know and love.

Click the stories below to read.

Your Story 2017 book cover

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