Wahroonga's big milestone

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

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 30years 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.

Topics:  aged care retirement home

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