Charity to offload rest-home; cites costs

Wanaka Retirement Village residents Marie Lewis and Bryan Lloyd are concerned their costs might...
Wanaka Retirement Village residents Marie Lewis and Bryan Lloyd are concerned their costs might increase under a new village owner. PHOTO: MARJORIE COOK
Presbyterian Support Otago is selling a rest-home, hospital and retirement village in Wānaka, saying it can no longer afford to run them.

It was also exiting its partnership with Aspiring Enliven Care Centre in Cardrona Valley Rd, where it provided aged care and nursing services.

Chief executive Jo O’Neill said the decision to exit Wānaka was based on lack of funding and increased operational costs.

The decision to sell the Wānaka assets was because "the funding for not-for-profit providers of residential aged care has been insufficient and the losses we have made are no longer sustainable".

"We have made the difficult decision to sell Elmslie House and Wanaka Retirement Village. However, we will continue to serve the most vulnerable in the Wānaka area by continuing to provide social services to those who need us."

While new owners were being sought, and the sale process had started, staff in Wānaka would continue to fulfil their roles as normal, she said.

Presbyterian Support Otago employed a mix of full-time, part-time, fixed term and casual staff, with 77 people working at Aspiring Enliven, 25 at Elmslie and three at Wanaka Retirement Village (WRV).

Numbers fluctuated but there were 30 beds available at Elmslie House, 52 beds available at Aspiring Enliven and 28 village residences at the retirement village.

Presbyterian Support Otago is not intending to sell any other property assets in Otago. It owns more than half a dozen rest-homes in Otago.

Costs were increasing — especially around increased pay for nurses, Mrs O’Neill said.

"The funding of the aged care sector remains insufficient to meet the increased cost of the delivery of care.

"Particularly for not-for-profit organisations such as Presbyterian Support Otago," she said.

Data showed there was a growing need in the town for aged care services.

Retired lawyer Bryan Lloyd and his partner Marie Lewis moved into the village about two and a-half years ago and love their lifestyle.

"All I am really concerned about, and what one can hope for, is the unique ambience of our village is not compromised in any way by this decision to sell," Mr Lloyd said.

"My take on it was that they — Presbyterian Support Otago — would be more interested in sticking to their roots or core functions of caring for the elderly and those who need support, rather than owning property," Mr Lloyd said.

Another of his concerns was a new owner-manager might want to increase management fees, he said.

Presbyterian Support Otago had told residents they could have a say about a future new owner but he doubted that was the case, Mr Lloyd said.