Life blooms in aged care hostel

Activities officer at Caroona Yamba Anne Duke looks through their newly installed vegetable gardens.
Activities officer at Caroona Yamba Anne Duke looks through their newly installed vegetable gardens. Adam Hourigan

WALKING past residents picking ripe tomatoes from the vine and rows of rhubarb, lettuce and spinach, it's hard to believe that little more than a month ago Caroona Aged Care Hostel's garden was just a plan.

But with the help of The Village Garden Project, a concept developed by Irons and Craig owners David Barnier and Antony Perring, the first plants were placed in the ground last month, and already the Yamba facility's garden is bearing the fruits (and vegetables) of its labour.

The benefits can also be seen in the residents' quality of life, so much so that Caroona Aged Care manager Debra Smith now sees the space to expand it everywhere she looks.

"I've never seen so many people outside here for so long,” she said.

"This is our starting point and now we're looking at how we can build it into the future. We've got so many spaces that we can do this type of thing.”

Caroona Aged Care activities officer Ann Duke added that it was great to see the residents and their families take on the responsibility of the garden themselves.

"When I have a few days off one of the residents says to me, don't worry, we'll water it,” she said.

"They love it, and it's become a family thing now.

"The residents are always here, always checking it.”


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