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After 35 years caring for Parkes seniors Andrea Austin retires from BaptistCare Niola

It’s the end of an era as Andrea Austin, who has been part of BaptistCare Niola team for nearly 35 years, retires this week.

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20 December 2023

News | Aged Care Homes, BaptistCare

Throughout her time, which covers more than half of BaptistCare Niola’s history, Andrea has been an integral part of the team through her unwavering commitment and compassionate service to Parkes seniors.

Something that started with a knock on the door.

“I’m born and bred in Parkes and did my nurses training at the hospital back in the day,” explained Andrea.

“After my children were born, I wanted to move away from emergency nursing and Niola was a block away from my house, so I knocked on their door and asked if they needed any staff. A week later I worked my first shift.”

Reflecting on her 35 years working in aged care, Andrea recognised the many changes across the sector while acknowledging that one thing has always stayed the same at BaptistCare Niola.

“It’s home,” she said.

“I love the residents, I love that staff I’ve worked with over all these years. My husband worked there as a while for a gardener. We’re a family down there, a little Niola family.”

Andrea’s commitment to exceptional people first care, her compassion and dedication has touched countless lives leaving an enduring mark on BaptistCare and the Parkes community.

Known as the ‘Go to Girl’ by her colleagues and residents, the goal at the heart of Andrea’s 35-year career with BaptistCare was ensuring Niola residents had their best day every day.

Andrea Austin dressing up at BaptistCare Niola
Andrea Austin dressing up at BaptistCare Niola

Andrea did this through quality care and a bit of fun, regularly finding ways to bring joy through dress up days with creative costumes or ensuring that one resident ended up with the gold taps they had jokingly requested.

“Ah the gold taps! My aunty was in her 90’s, and I told her, ‘If you ever come to Niola I will look after you and even put gold taps in your bathroom’,” Andrea reminisced.

“It took a little bit of time and talking to the CEO at the time and the finance department, but eventually I got the taps that looked gold.

“They’re in the Clarinda wing in room 36 and will hopefully stay there forever,” she laughed.

Andrea Austin with her BaptistCare Award
Andrea Austin with her BaptistCare award

Transitioning into retirement will be made a little easier for Andrea Austin who will regularly visit her in-laws who are current residents at Niola, but returning as a visitor will be an adjustment.

“35 years is an awful lot of time doing the same thing so it’s going to take a while to adjust,” Andrea said.

“The first time I visit I’ll have to remind myself not just to walk through to my office!”

With lots of travel planned, spoiling the grandkids and spending time with her husband, Andrea Austin is excited for what retirement will bring.

As she steps into retirement, BaptistCare extends heartfelt gratitude to Andrea for her exceptional service and wishes her a fulfilling retirement.

Image: Andrea Austin at the start of her nursing career in Parkes, NSW

About Niola:
BaptistCare purchased Niola, formerly a bush hospital, as a 12-bed home in 1957. In addition to several refurbishments, BaptistCare completed an $11 million redevelopment of the home in 2017, increasing the home’s capacity to support up to 59 older Australians. The redevelopment included a range of new features for residents including a new commercial kitchen, physio and consulting rooms, hairdresser, spa room and additional courtyard areas.

As a leading aged care provider, BaptistCare delivers residential aged care, home care and respite support in the Parkes region.