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Wagga celebrates opening of relocated overnight respite service

The Murrumbidgee region’s overnight respite cottage, BaptistCare Towner House, which provides much-needed support for local carers, celebrated its reopening today in its newly refurbished venue in Tatton.

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The Murrumbidgee region’s overnight respite cottage, BaptistCare Towner House, which provides much-needed support for local carers, celebrated its reopening today in its newly refurbished venue in Tatton.

Federal Member for Riverina, The Hon Michael McCormack MP, Cr Dallas Tout, Mayor, members of Wagga Wagga City Council, Towner House clients and staff officially opened the purpose-renovated home on Tuesday 5 April with a ceremonial cutting of the cake.

BaptistCare Towner House offers short-term day and overnight care seven days a week for up to five people, ensuring carers can access trusted care for their loved ones as they have a much-needed break.

Friendly care staff work with family members and their loved ones to provide opportunities for them to participate in activities that encourage physical movement, social contact and entertainment to engage the mind.

Clients have private rooms, living spaces to enjoy time together, an established garden and courtyard, and a dining room for home-made snacks and meals prepared by caring and enthusiastic staff.

BaptistCare undertook renovations to the house to ensure it was suitable as a respite cottage, including reconfiguring the bathroom for accessibility, providing step-free access to all areas of the house and non-slip flooring.

Viv Harris was the first client to stay at the new BaptistCare Towner House in February, following a brief hospitalisation. Daughters Deb and Kathryn needed a trusted respite provider who could support their dad with his recovery before he was able to return home to live independently.

“We didn’t feel it was safe enough for Dad to be at home alone after coming out of hospital. My sister Kathryn, who is Dad’s primary carer, was away for a few weeks and I had work commitments, which meant neither of us could be on hand as much as Dad would need,” said Deb.

“Towner House was a great stopgap for us, in ensuring Dad had the care and support he needed at that time. He loved getting to be around other people, and he was really spoilt by the staff,” said Debbie.

“It was like a home away from home for Dad, he loved the home cooked meals - probably a little too much!” said Kathryn.

“I couldn’t believe how much better he was from when I left to when I returned. Healthwise he was so much better. Deb and I will be forever grateful and we would highly recommend Towner House to other carers in the region who may need regular breaks for their caring role, or one-off care as we did,” said Kathryn.

Sharon Simpkins, Manager at BaptistCare At Home Murrumbidgee, believes that day and overnight respite programs are a significantly important component of the overall aged care system.

“Not only does respite care provide vital social contact and stimulating activities for participants, these programs also offer carers the opportunity to have a short-term break and a period of freedom from their caregiving duties and attend to other activities in their lives,” said Ms Simpkins.

“This allows them to relieve their stress, renew their energy and restore a sense of balance to their lives, while loved ones continue to receive the care they require in a safe, caring and professional environment,” said Ms Simpkins.

At least 854,300 people living in NSW provide ongoing care and support to a family member or friend. That means that more than 1 in 8 NSW residents is a carer.1

In 2018, across Australia, primary carers were most likely to care for a spouse or partner (36.6%), with over half (54.8%) of carers aged 65 years or over.2

With the $40m redevelopment of BaptistCare Caloola Centre well underway, the relocation of BaptistCare Towner House from the Caloola site enabled BaptistCare to purchase a residential home in mid-2021 and renovate it as fit-for-purpose to be the new home for Towner House.

The new Towner House adds to the expanding range of services that BaptistCare provides within the region, including in-home care to almost 1,000 older people; BaptistCare Caloola Centre (under redevelopment); retirement villages BaptistCare Watermark and BaptistCare The Grange (acquired in March 2022); and BaptistCare HopeStreet, providing support to people living with disadvantage.

If you or someone you love are looking for overnight respite care, contact BaptistCare, the specialist in home care services for over 75 years.

Click the link below to view all BaptistCare's respite locations.

1. Carer's NSW

2. ABS