THE state government is giving $500,000 towards an educational centre where the old and the young can learn together.
The intergenerational learning centre is being established at Andrew Kerr Care in Tanti Avenue, Mornington by The Herd ILC, run by sisters Anna and Fiona Glumac.
The announcement was made by the government three days before the Andrew Kerr board said it was recommending that the aged care centre’s business and assets be transferred to Uniting AgeWell, which is owned by the Uniting Church.
The Andrew Kerr board said the “difficult decision” followed significant changes which started about three years ago in the residential aged care industry.
“The previous era of relative stability and certainty where revenue streams and costs were predictable and waitlists of potential residents ensured financial sustainability have quickly changed,” the board’s statement reads.
“Firstly, an influx of new providers, greater investment into state-of-the-art facilities and technology together with government funding policy changes have put pressure on existing providers.
“Secondly, the federal government established the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and its findings [due in February] are expected to drive higher standards and stronger compliance requirements adding significant operating costs to providers
“Then came COVID-19 which, to keep everyone safe, physically and mentally, has required more resources in residential aged care facilities.”
The board said that Andrew Kerr Care would keep its name, although staff would be employed by Uniting AgeWell. There was no expectation for existing managers to leave “however this will depend on the personal decisions of the staff involved”.
The board said business assessments, “together with the future uncertainty of COVID-19 pandemic conditions which may continue into the foreseeable future, has reinforced [its] view that entering into a partnership with a larger organisation with more resources would be very prudent”.
It said the 90-day transition, if agreed to by members at a meeting next month (February) and the government, would not affect service delivery.
The state government’s $500,000 will go towards construction of a 66-place intergenerational learning centre run by The Heard where children and aged care residents can come together five days a week for such activities as art, music, lunch, storytelling and visiting.
In a news release Early Childhood Minister Ingrid Stitt said The Herd “offers children unique opportunities to become part of an extended family; to learn about the ageing process; to accept people with disabilities; and to be involved with people who are two or three generations apart”.
Aged-care residents would benefit from the frequent interaction with children; physical activity in playing with the children; and “opportunities to play, laugh and enjoy the spirt and joy that children bring to their home environment”.
The project would help meet demand for three-and four-year-old kindergartens in the Mornington area.
Construction of the centre is expected to start in February and be finished mid-year.