‘Not your average’ aged care arrives in Bargara
ALFRESCO living areas, coffee shop, movie theatre, hair salon and restaurant-quality food.
These things don't always come to mind when you think of nursing homes, but a new $25 million aged care facility at Bargara promises to challenge the stereotypes.
Mayor-elect Jack Dempsey and Division 5 Councillor Greg Barnes helped cut the ribbon at the launch of Palm Lake Care Bargara yesterday.
It won't be your average aged care home - "not at all," says Palm Lake Care CEO Manuel Lang.
"Rather than focus on cramming as many rooms as possible, we've tried to have less rooms - and they are bigger and better quality."
Fifteen of the 160 beds are already booked at the 11,500sq m property, which adjoins the existing Palm Lake Bargara Resort at 55 Wearing Rd.
It is open to the public but is also designed to cater to existing clients at the resort next door, which hosts retirees and "empty nesters". "It's also for people who are still living in their own home but need a bit of extra care," Mr Lang said.
Bargara makes a perfect place to retire, according to Mr Lang, who also oversees Palm Lakes facilities in Deception Bay, Redland Bay and Bethania - but there is a lack of facilities here.
"We've been in Bargara for seven years already with the resort, so we know the area really well," he said.
"We love the climate and the location close to the ocean, and all the amazing things nearby like the turtle rookery. Really, it's a retirement hub.
"We've found regional areas like Bundaberg and Bargara haven't had a new aged care built in a long time.
"It's been very underesourced for a while, so there's a strong demand, and a lot of people are interested."
Former mayor Mal Forman "helped get the project over the line".
A big drawcard will the food.
"We've got large commercial kitchens and three qualified chefs - everything is prepared on site," Mr Lang said
"None of this chill-fresh stuff some facilities have."
Meal times are critical to the quality of life in a aged care, he said.
"Socialising is really important to us.
"We want to cultivate a family atmosphere.
"Our care staff act like service people at a restaurant.
That all adds to the ambience of the place."
Palm Lake Care is also a member of The Lantern Project, a national collaboration with the goal of improving quality of life for aged care residents through food and nutrition. Other members of the project include professors, chefs, dieticians, social workers and even celebrity foodie and author Maggie Beer.
Last year Mr Lang said the facility would create new jobs in the region with 160 staff to be employed when Palm Lake Care reaches its capacity.