Aged care facility rich in wisdom

BELLORANA aged care centre has won an award for a string of initiatives that have not only saved it money, but reduced its carbon footprint.

The local centre was delighted to receive a 2013 Better Practice Award for Environmental Management/Living Environment.

Bellorana has successfully reduced its plastic waste by establishing an efficient recycling system, created a worm farm for the food scraps (the compost is used in the centre’s garden) and reduced its use of electricity. 

“It’s made a significant financial difference,” general manager Sarah Churchyard told the Courier-Sun. “This award is like gold – everyone wants it.”

Bellorana operates a number of facilities – a nursing home, a hostel, as well as self care units – all of which are an initiative of the Royal Freemasons Benevolent.

Next year a new centre will open in Raleigh, while the self care units in Bellingen are being renovated. Currently, Bellorana has 110 staff and 93 residents.

Ms Churchyard said the staff are dedicated to the residents and pleased to have the opportunity to build relationships with them. 

She said she the staff strive to make the centres as homely as possible, so the residents can feel at ease.

In order to make improvements, the residents have regular meetings to inform staff of any concerns with the centre.

The residents also stay connected to the community thanks to regular visits from volunteers who provide activities such as reading, gaming and conversation.

The centre also regularly hosts work experience programs with Bellingen High School.

“They (the students) learn to have respect and tolerance for the elderly – lots of kids around here don’t have older grandparents they see a lot,” Ms Churchyard said. “We learn a lot from the residents, especially about ‘what was’ and what should be."

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