The Murrumbidgee region’s overnight respite cottage, BaptistCare Towner House, has celebrated the opening of its newly refurbished facility in Tatton today.
Mayor Dallas Tout and members of Wagga Wagga City Council, along with Towner House clients and staff, officially opened the purpose-renovated home, which provides much-needed support for local carers.
BaptistCare Towner House offers short-term day and overnight care seven days a week for up to five people, ensuring carers can access trusted care for their loved ones as they have a much-needed break.
Friendly care staff work with family members and their loved ones to provide opportunities to participate in activities that encourage physical movement, social contact and entertainment to engage the mind.
Clients have private rooms, living spaces to enjoy time together, an established garden and courtyard, and a dining room for home-made snacks and meals prepared by caring and enthusiastic staff.
Sharon Simpkins, manager at BaptistCare At Home Murrumbidgee, believes that day and overnight respite programs are an important component of the overall aged care system.
“Not only does respite care provide vital social contact and stimulating activities for participants, these programs also offer carers the opportunity to have a short-term break and a period of freedom from their caregiving duties and attend to other activities in their lives,” Simpkins says.
“This allows them to relieve their stress, renew their energy and restore a sense of balance to their lives, while loved ones continue to receive the care they require in a safe, caring and professional environment.
BaptistCare undertook renovations to the house to ensure it was suitable as a respite cottage, including reconfiguring the bathroom for accessibility, providing step-free access to all areas of the house and non-slip flooring.
Viv Harris was the first client to stay at the new Towner House venue in February, following a brief hospitalisation.
Daughters Debbie and Kathryn needed a trusted respite provider who could support their dad with his recovery before he was able to return home to live independently.
“We didn’t feel it was safe enough for Dad to be at home alone after coming out of hospital,” Debbie says.
“Kathryn, who is Dad’s primary carer, was away for a few weeks and I had work commitments, which meant neither of us could be on hand as much as Dad would need.
“Towner House was a great stopgap for us, ensuring Dad had the care and support he needed at that time.
“He loved getting to be around other people, and he was really spoilt by the staff.”
At least 854,300 people living in NSW provide ongoing care and support to a family member or friend. That means that more than 1 in 8 NSW residents is a carer.
In 2018, across Australia, primary carers most commonly provided care to a spouse or partner (36.6 per cent), with more than half (54.8 per cent) of those providing care aged 65 years or over.