STAWELL - A new purpose built twenty bed wing at Eventide Homes is just weeks away from being opened to residents.
Chief Executive Officer Sue Blakey said some of the existing residents will be moved into the new wing before it is open to people from Stawell and surrounding areas for respite or permanent care.
"The construction of this new wing was primarily so Stawell residents don't have to leave their home town if they don't want to," she said.
Eventide will now be home to 100 hostel residents with six wings and a total of 100 rooms.
The new wing will become the biggest of the six wings at the aged care facility with 20 beds to be made available.
All of the rooms are disabled compliant and have individual ensuites.
The new wing was named 'Warne House' after doctor and member of the board of management Roger Warne.
Mrs Blakey said she expects another ten full time staffing positions to be created thanks to the opening of the wing.
"We are very well aware that our staff, alongside our residents are our most valuable asset," she said.
"Eventide Homes is proud to be a major employer in the region with 94 staff currently employed.
"Our partnership with the University of Ballarat, which currently runs the Certificate III in Aged Care from Eventide Homes Education Centre, has been invaluable in our goal to have well trained staff available for our recruitment drive.
"A number of students are working with our staff on the floor one to four days per week while studying on site one day per week."
Construction of the new wing was made possible by government who provided a 'Zero Real Interest Loan' of $2,510,000 to partially fund the capital works.
The total cost of the 12 month project is $3.3 million with the loan to be repaid in full over the next 10 years.
Mrs Blakey said staff participation was vital in the development of the wing and sensory garden currently under construction.
"For our residents with special needs such as dementia, this will be a great opportunity to ensure they have adequate physical activity and sensory stimulation outdoors," she said.
The staff were some of the first to try out the new facilities with a sleep over for a night in the new wing which features both blue and green coloured rooms.
"We pride ourselves on providing quality residential accommodation and care in a friendly, cheerful and family oriented environment for aged members of our community," Mrs Blakey said.
"Our initiatives and extensions enable us to continue to support local communities by ensuring that if care is needed it can be provided 'close to home' for many elders.
"We encourage interested persons, families, carers or others to telephone or call in to discuss our facility, plans and bed availability.
An open day is expected to be held in the near future and 'Warne House' will be officially declared open.
"An invitation is extended to all to come and have a look around Eventide, meet our staff and experience the atmosphere of Eventide, watch this space," Mrs Blakey said.
Clinical Care Manager Helen Farnsworth said a committee of staff along with residents played a big part in the design of the wing.
"A committee of dedicated nursing and care staff met over a period of 12 months to consult and make decisions on many aspects of the furniture and decor," she said.
"The result being that the building and decor are not only visually inviting and elegant but based around a homelike comfortable environment."
Mrs Farnsworth said a lot of the designs were specific to the nature of some of the ailments residents deal with on a daily basis.
"The building highlights include colour schemes designed for residents with memory loss and a larger dining area with purpose built kitchen and servery area," she said.
"The memory lane of photos includes frosted glass to many windows displaying old photos of Stawell."
Mrs Farnsworth said in addition to the building the staff had a vision for an outdoor sensory garden so residents could enjoy the outdoors.
"It will include a large outdoor area for outdoor dining tables and chairs, a golf putting hole, chicken coop for daily egg collection, fibreglass life size animals and raised garden beds for residents to garden," she said.
"Also a water feature, flower arranging/cutting bench, outdoor area for alfresco dining when weather permits, seats around a walking track and trees for shade.
"Many plants will be purchased by residents and selected based on aromatherapy benefits or be able to be utilised in the kitchen."
Mrs Farnsworth said they are looking forward to introducing Eden Alternative care which is based around residents being enabled to undertake regular day to day home activities.
"Gardening, cooking, home duties, in addition to the many leisure and lifestyle activities offered by our full-time lifestyle staff seven days per week.
To assist in raising funds for the sensory garden staff at the residential aged care facility have organised a fundraiser.
A Glitz and Glamour Ball will be held from 7.30pm on Saturday February 23 at Stawell Entertainment Centre.