An open day has been held ahead of the transfer of 100 residents of Mayflower’s John & Helen Robinson Nursing Home and Pioneer Lodge to the new Uniting Gerringong Care House.
It was an opportunity for invited members of the community, and The Bugle, to tour the new premises before the residents move in on 27 November.
The new Care House (as nursing homes are now called) is designed around a household living model, which groups residents into clusters of twenty, where they share communal facilities such as lounge rooms, kitchens and verandahs.
“The aim is to look domestic, not institutional, so people feel at home,” says Anna-Marie Harmon, Uniting’s Residential Business Lead for the region.
“At the same time it is built on dementia design principles to support people with early dementia so that people can age in a familiar space.”
The complex includes a seniors gym, a hairdressers, a room for gatherings, a café and more.
Each spacious bedroom has an ensuite and residents will be encouraged to add their own personal touches.
The Chair of Uniting Gerringong’s Client Care Support Group, Trevor Hamblen, says the long wait has been worth it. “It is just amazing. Everyone who sees it wants to move in. They have done everything so well, and it is all the little touches that impress me.”
He has been involved with Mayflower since his mother lived there, and has stayed involved through friendships formed with others.
“Back in those days, there were three or four residents to a room. Things have changed so much.”
His Group’s fundraising provided $100,000 for the equipment in the gym, a facility that can be utilised by non-residents to build their strength.
The current residents are transferring across without any extra payment for their upgraded living conditions.
The Care House is the first of a staged redevelopment of the site, with Pioneer Lodge to be refurbished into independent living units and a DA having been lodged to demolish and rebuild Boronia Lodge, the facility’s dementia unit.
Neighbouring residents in Croft Place have had issues with the 16 metre high development, but some of these have been resolved through remedial actions.
They are currently appealing to Uniting to funnel heavy service traffic away from a blind corner on their residential street leading to the school, and instead take it through the greater Mayflower facility.
A masterplan for the site is not publicly available.