New dementia unit opened

Just seven months after the proposal for a new dementia unit at Iona Home in Oamaru was put forward, the Mackay Dementia Unit was opened yesterday.

About 120 people attended the opening, firstly in the chapel for speeches and dedication, then in a parade to the doors of the new 14-room unit where a ribbon was untied by Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher and his mother, Margaret Kircher.

Two pipers then led guests through the unit.

Presbyterian Support Otago board chairman David Richardson said it was remarkable, in the time it took, that the project had been completed and people were yesterday at the opening.

A large increase was expected in people struggling and dealing with dementia as the population aged, and the unit would meet that need, he said.

Iona Home manager Stephenie Leith paid tribute to a large group of people who had helped get the unit completed in such a short time.

Iona Home was excited and privileged to be able to offer people in Oamaru the peace and tranquillity of what was a beautiful environment.

People moving into the unit would have the very best care, something they deserved, she said.

Iona provides care for 91 residents, with 12 independent living cottages, 28 rest-home rooms, 37 hospital rooms and now 14 dementia care rooms, with 103 staff members and more than 50 volunteers.

The first patients will move into the new dementia unit on Monday.

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