How do you move 40 elderly people into a new home all in one day? Ask the Army to come and help.
That is exactly what happened 10 years ago when Frontier Services’ residential aged care service Terrace Gardens first opened in Palmerston.
“There were 40 residents who were moving into Terrace Gardens which was built by Frontier Services to replace the former nursing home, Chan Park,” said Director of Nursing Marysia Kalcher. “We did it all on one day – with the help of the Army.”
Frontier Services called on Darwin-based soldiers to assist with the move.
“Young servicemen came with big trucks and helped shifting furniture and beds,” said Ms Kalcher.
“Residents were taken to the Uniting Church Community Hall and cared for while the shifting was going on. Others helped setting up the beds and we moved everyone in at about 4 o’clock.
“It all happened without a hitch!”
Terrace Gardens hosted its 10th birthday celebration on Wednesday, 14 December.
More than 50 residents and their families joined with present and former staff for the Christmas-themed occasion.
Five of the original residents who moved into Terrace Gardens when it first opened attended the celebration.
Among the 61 staff are 11 who have been working at Terrace Gardens for the full 10 years, including nurses, carers, kitchen and laundry staff.
“I think it must say something about the place that those staff members have stayed all this time,” said Ms Kalcher, who began with the service in Chan Park 15 years ago.
“It’s a lovely environment to work in. We are all just like family here.”
Ms Kalcher recalls the excitement when they first moved into Terrace Gardens.
“It was a dream, for both the residents and staff.”
At Terrace Gardens, most of the residents have single rooms which open onto wide verandahs and small gardens.
The facility has been designed to reflect the natural environment that many of the residents, from Darwin and more remote communities, have previously enjoyed.
“I love the openness,” said Ms Kalcher. “You feel as if you’re inside one minute and outside the next. When you’re sitting inside, you can still hear and see the rain.”
The celebration included the cutting of a 10-year birthday cake and the singing of Christmas carols.