Gary Mark, CEO of Hand Heart Pocket, Melanie Calvert, CEO of Pinaroo, Howard Hobbs, Chairman and members of Roma Freemasons at the opening of a newly landscaped garden at Pinaroo.
Gary Mark, CEO of Hand Heart Pocket, Melanie Calvert, CEO of Pinaroo, Howard Hobbs, Chairman and members of Roma Freemasons at the opening of a newly landscaped garden at Pinaroo. Ellen Ransley

Second specialised dementia wing one step closer

A SECOND dementia wing at Roma's Pinaroo Aged Care is one step closer to reality, following the official opening of a newly landscaped garden.

Last year, Hand Heart Pocket, the charity of Freemasons Queensland, provided a $250,000 grant to help with the conversion of an existing wing to be purpose-built to accommodate 11 additional dementia residents, with the garden forming part of this process.

Pinaroo Roma Chief Executive Officer, Melanie Calvert, said the completion of the garden was an important milestone in the project.

"It is incredibly exciting for us to see progress being made on this project,” she said.

"The new garden will provide a secure and serene place for dementia residents to spend time in. The new rotunda, in particular, will be well utilised.”

Once completed, the converted wing will provide 11 private, purpose-built en-suited rooms. The wing will be given a homely feel with landscaped gardens, lounge room, and a meals area. The wing will be fully integrated and secure with keypad access, allowing Pinaroo to look after a total of 23 residents with the progressive disease.

Hand Heart Pocket CEO Gary Mark said helping communities to meet the challenges of an ageing population was part of his organisation's long-term focus.

"This partnership is about ensuring more residents with dementia will be able to remain in their own community, close to their loved ones and support networks, instead of having to move to another town,” he said.

"The local Freemasons felt strongly about the regional shortage in specialised residential dementia care and played a pivotal role in championing this initiative.”

Maranoa Freemason, Brian Reardon, said the local group were delighted to be associated with the project.

"We are proud to have campaigned for this important regional initiative through Hand Heart Pocket,” he said.

"We look forward to the opening of the fully converted wing late next year, which we know will have a lasting impact on our community's ability to care for the elderly.”