Aged-care centre opened

Betty Swift (right) helps Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean open the new palliative care unit at the...
Betty Swift (right) helps Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean open the new palliative care unit at the Aspiring Enliven Care Centre in Wanaka yesterday. Mrs Swift took the place of her friend Stina Mooyman, who was instrumental in setting up the unit but was unable to travel from Auckland, where she now lives, for the opening. Photo: Tim Miller.
After 10 years of planning, the Aspiring Enliven Care Centre has been officially opened.

More than 100 supporters packed into the care centre for the official opening in Wanaka yesterday.

Easing the demand for aged care in the Upper Clutha, the $9.3millon centre will provide 20 spaces for aged care and 20 spaces for dementia care.

It will also house the only palliative care unit in the Upper Clutha, which will provide end-of-life care free of charge.

The centre is a partnership between Presbyterian Support Otago, the Aspiring Lifestyle Retirement Village and the Upper Clutha Hospice Trust.

Presbyterian Support Otago chief executive Gillian Bremner said the first residents were expected to move in on Monday and in less than a month more than half the 40 beds would be occupied.

The rate at which the beds were being filled showed the increasing demand for aged care in the Upper Clutha, she said.

Upper Clutha Hospice Trust chairman Russell McGeorge said support the trust had received from the community was much appreciated, but it would need to be ongoing to ensure there was a dedicated palliative care unit in the Upper Clutha.

"Think of this as the end of the beginning rather than the beginning of the end," Mr McGeorge said.

Special thanks were given to Stina Mooyman,  who made a significant contribution to the trust, he said.

A plaque placed outside the palliative care room is dedicated to Ms Mooyman and her friend Dirkje Veenstra.

Ms Mooyman (93), who now lives in Auckland, could not attend the opening but her friend, Betty Swift, was on hand to help officially open the palliative care unit.

Upper Clutha residents will be given an opportunity to look through the new care centre at an open day from noon to 3pm today.

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