Wahroonga’s big mile­stone

Re­tire­ment vil­lage turns 35 with cake

Central Telegraph - - NEWS - Vanessa Jar­rett Vanessa.Jar­rett@cen­tral­tele­graph.com.au

WAHROONGA Re­tire­ment Vil­lage cel­e­brated 35 years of ser­vice on Wed­nes­day.

The cen­tre was of­fi­cially opened on Septem­ber 13, 1982, and the mile­stone was com­mem­o­rated with a small cel­e­bra­tion.

“It feels pretty good to cel­e­brate the 35 years,” ser­vice man­ager Lorna Per­rett said.

“I was here for the

30 years and it was a huge event with a lot of dig­ni­taries and speeches.

“And to do some­thing that is in­ti­mate for the res­i­dents and staff this year is nice.”

Lorna has man­aged Wahroonga for the past six years, hav­ing worked at the cen­tre for 12 years.

In her time work­ing there, Lorna has seen the cen­tre grow for the bet­ter.

“I think the big­gest thing is peo­ple’s at­ti­tude to aged care, how they ap­proach it and how the staff do.”

Lorna said aged care was now seen as a happy place and a home for res­i­dents com­pared to the stigma years ago.

“It has changed from a clin­i­cal-like feel to a homely sort of place,” she said.

“We em­power the res­i­dents to speak a lot more now, say how they feel, tell us what they like.

“And they can have a good life here.”

From hum­ble be­gin­nings, the vil­lage has ex­panded.

“Some 20 years ago they ex­panded the nurs­ing home and added the se­cure units,” Lorna said.

Nowa­days, Wahroonga caters for 65 res­i­dents and has about 70 staff.

“At the mo­ment we are at full ca­pac­ity,” Lorna said.

While va­can­cies oc­cur, there is a long wait­ing list.

“The va­can­cies usu­ally only stay open for one to two weeks, some­times even shorter.

“We take a week to source and an­other week for the pa­per­work.”

Com­par­ing Wahroonga to other vil­lages and cen­tres, Lorna said the Biloela site was spe­cial.

“I think it is dif­fer­ent – we are a pur­pose-built cen­tre for the com­mu­nity,” she said. “You go to the in­ner cities and they have a dif­fer­ent vibe.

“It is the peo­ple who work and live here, it is just a happy place.

“We have a nice feel.” Look­ing down the track, Lorna said there were plans for ren­o­va­tions in the near fu­ture.

“The im­me­di­ate fu­ture is we are get­ting an uplift – new car­pet, new paint, new wall art and fur­nish­ings.”

It has been quite a while since ren­o­va­tions were done to the build­ings.

“The floor cov­er­ings are orig­i­nal, so it is well over­due,” Lorna said.

“It will be great to see a fresh new look.”

Ex­pan­sion could lie in the far fu­ture.

“Long term, Lutheran Ser­vices have a master plan for ex­pan­sions,” Lorna said.

“They are work­ing through all the ser­vices. At the mo­ment they are work­ing on Nun­dah and then Toowoomba, and then they will re­assess.”

Lorna looks for­ward to the fu­ture, what­ever it may hold.

“I would like to see where it goes in the next 35 years,” she said.

PHOTO: VANESSA JAR­RETT

PARTY TIME: Rose Salido, vol­un­teer Chelmer Roots, Jill Bren­nan, Lorna Per­rett and chap­lain George Rankin cut the cake for Wahroonga's 35th birth­day.

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