Annie Crowley

My mother, Eileen, was fiercely independent, in her mid 80’s after being alone for some 22 years following the loss of my father. Her 6 children had grown to be strong adults, independent like herself. She liked her own company and was very comfortable in herself. It was unthinkable to both her and me that she should leave her home for an Aged Care Home. Then everything changed. After her first stroke I managed to convince the hospital doctors and staff to let me care for her at home citing quality of life over longevity. However the first stroke was followed by a series of minor stokes resulting in Mum needing 24 x 7 care. Byron Aged Care was recommended to me by a very close friend. Fortunately they were able to accommodate her when we needed.

From day one I was surprised and grateful for the dignity their care and consideration allowed her. I had the freedom to make her room hers with cherished photographs and memorabilia. Within days she was sitting out in the sunshine watching the birds in the courtyard tree. She was happy. She loved the food and whilst it took her some time to participate in the many activities when she did she really enjoyed herself. She especially liked the bus rides. She seemed to find comfort in talking to people her own age. She knew all the staff by first names and had a kind word for each, kind words which were very deserved. The only question I am now left is, should I have introduced her to this new life earlier.

Thank you Byron Aged Care.

In the pocket Gladys

In the pocket Gladys

Debbie and Kelvin Kite

Due to health issues our mum Joan needed to move from her own home in Brisbane into an aged care facility. Being new to the Byron area ourselves and wanting Mum close to us, I asked around for recommendations. A work colleague suggested we visit Byron Aged Care as his family had been very happy with the care his mother-in-law was receiving there.

We visited and liked the place for so many reasons. The staff was very informative regarding the process of moving Mum in and what to expect, the home was immaculately kept with a beautiful central garden full of birds and sunshine and being walking distance to the beach and shops in Byron, it gave Mum the freedom to enjoy getting out and about.

When Mum first moved in the staff were so supportive and being a small home, people personally went out of their way to include her in activities, make sure she got the meals she enjoyed and was seated with people she had something in common with.

Mum has lived in Byron Aged Care for over 4 years now – she has had a wonderful time and forged lovely friendships with other residents and staff members. As she gets older she has had some health issues but these have been monitored and managed by the nursing staff on a daily basis and we have been keep informed at all times.

Mum and I often reflect on the following – you can pay someone to do a job but you can’t pay someone to give so freely of their love and kindness. That comes from the heart of the beautiful people that look after her at Byron Aged Care on a daily basis. We can’t recommend it highly enough.

Green thumbs

Green thumbs

Irene Marr

I have watched and experienced the growth of Byron Aged Care for many years and am proud to say the care and consideration given by the staff to residents and their families is extremely comforting at all times.
I am proud to put my name to this referral.

Jim Beatson

My mum, Eileen, considered herself very lucky to spend her last three years her at Byron Aged Care.
When she decided to move to Byron to be close to me we decided to spent time at all the local nursing homes. We spent a couple of hours at Byron Aged Care to have a meal and check out the food, the CEO and the staff. It all seemed very good so Eileen moved in willingly. We liked it because management and staff were friendly, it was centrally located, the food tasty and had a happy atmosphere.

It took over a year to sell her home in Brisbane and so it took over a year to pay her bond to Byron Aged Care. This was never a problem and rarely discussed until Eileen sold her Unit in Brisbane.
Like many people my mum had led a very full life, had many interests, many passions and dislikes. I thought her dislikes might be a problem. But the staff got to know her quickly and picked up on what she liked and didn’t like, knew what performers she didn’t want to visit in the Recreation Room (country and western music!). The staff were interested and engaged with her and everyone else. She was articulate so she was put at a table with other lively people.

She took the first available room which she didn’t like particularly. But she added and subtracted furniture to the room so by the time another, bigger room became available she was very happy and didn’t want to move.
All the food is cooked on-site by great chefs/cooks. As mum said “No one goes hungry here – the food is too good.”

I’ve visited Eileen most days for 3 years but over the last 6 months she wasn’t able to walk. So being so close to Main Beach I could pop her into a wheelchair and take her to the beach where she enjoyed eating a slice of pizza and watching the waves, the surfers and the pizza-edge hungry birds.

Residents, family, friends

Residents, family, friends

I often took her to the theatre in Byron, Mullumbimby and Brisbane. Easy, because the staff were always great about having her ready in nice clothes so I didn’t have to spend a lot of time getting her ready before going out. As she increasingly became incontinent I would be given a spare nappy. But the staff would put her in a watertight one so I rarely had to do the change.
What would I say about Byron Aged Care? I think that it is wonderful, staffed with typical Byron people. You couldn’t find a more caring thoughtful considerate yet hard working group of people who never let the requirement to get on with a full day’s work without a friendly joke, comment or conversation with my mum and the other residents.

Some of the events at Byron Aged Care bring tears to your eyes. The annual Christmas eve event where many individual singers and groups of musicians come in and sing Christmas carols. Both my mum and I, both confirmed atheists, got as much joy out of singing the carols as the most ardent Christians because there was such a strong sense of generosity and community. Last Christmas was a beauty. It bucketed down raining and I expected a poor turn out from relatives, friends and staff. But the large recreation room was absolutely packed with an amazing line up of classical instrument players, accordion players, popular and opera singers followed by a fabulous supper. A truly special night as good as any I have spent in this wonderful Shire.

I could name many individual staff members whose company my mum enjoyed but it would be wrong to do so because all of the stuff are just magnificent and everyone has different favourites.
Previously my mum had resided at an aged care facility in Brisbane and her husband, my dad, at another on the northern end of the Gold Coast.

Neither were satisfactory. The one my mum was in was physically pleasant, but many of the staff though nice we’re too rushed off their feet to become friends or get close to the residents. The food was ok. Entertainment was the TV set.

My dad’s experience was similar but the food dreadful. I tried it and it was tasteless. I asked a staffer why? She explained since all the meals were prepared externally and some people are allergic to salt they used a catering company. And it was cheaper for them not to include salt and let residents add salt if they wanted it. Again work demands meant staff who didn’t have time to give any real quality time with individuals. Residents seemed to be put into two classes: easy to deal with or problematic. My dad was easy so that the staff were too busy to get to know him really well.

I regret I had not discovered BAC moved my dad to Byron and while he was still alive.

Xmas Concert 2013

Xmas Concert 2013

Miles Mackenzie

My Dad took up residence at Byron Aged Care last year. He has settled in well and loves the convenience of it being located in the middle of town. This means he still has some independence and can just do a short walk to the shops, beach, cafe, etc. I have found all the staff to be so friendly and happy whenever I visit. They certainly make it a warm and welcoming place to all. I was impressed by how quiet it is within the grounds as the whole building looks onto the beautiful internal garden. The rooms are also well maintained and equipped.
In conclusion I think it is the lovely staff that do such a great job running Byron Aged Care that makes it a great place. I look forward to seeing you all again soon.

Room with a view

Room with a view

Prema (Susan) Roberts

I first came into contact with Byron Aged Care over 5 years ago when a dear friend of mine was there in residence. I was amazed to discover this little gem of a place quietly tucked away in the hurly-burly of Byron, a little sanctuary in an otherwise busy town that reminded me of the best of an English seaside boarding-house but in a sub-tropical setting. In a world which worships homogeneity of the most mediocre type, here was something quite unique, even “quaint” in a delightful sense. What a surprise! What a treat!
Here, in this modest, decidedly old-fashioned setting, staff quietly went about their work, caring for their clients with dignity, friendliness and compassion.  They chatted amongst each other a bit when time permitted, and it was obvious to me that they genuinely liked each other.  How amazing, and how refreshing in today’s too often impersonal and heartless workplace!

Five years further down the track and now my 90 year old mother is in Byron Aged Care.  I brought her up here from Melbourne specifically to escape the cold, glitzy state-of-the-art ‘resorts’ that too often and all the more frequently now, pass for  ” homes” for the elderly. Where everything is gleaming high-tech, replete with sumptuous bar & lounge –a great impressive, superficial ‘show’, usually near-empty — where, behind the facade, away from the public eye, lie the residents’ rooms, isolated little ‘space-pods’. Very chilling, and all so obviously driven by the company and shareholders’ concern for the Almighty Dollar.

Byron Aged Care in 2013 is even more impressive than it was when I first encountered it. The charming little courtyard gardens where residents can sit, chat, read or doze are still there, their rooms facing in to these whilst also backing on to the larger world outside (thus, they enjoy supreme privacy while also retaining contact with the broader world), but the indoor recreation area has expanded and resembles the hominess and comfort of someone’s personal residence.  And indeed, it is precisely this cosiness that marks BAC as decidedly special. The CEO and her splendid team have created not just a facility but a genuine home where residents, staff, volunteers, relatives of residents and visitors are all welcomed as community, as family.  Everyone here is part of a dedicated, hard-working team, where staff put in that extra effort to support firstly the residents and then each other.  The CEO is accessible to all, attentive to the needs of her team, genuinely interested in people, a wonderful role-model in both deeds and her consistent, quiet, unobtrusive humility.

In 2013, I feel honoured to be part of such an establishment that has retained such old-fashioned values. I know my mother’s needs are taken care of, now, and will be in the future as her condition becomes more fragile. In a very real sense, her carers are her friends. And they are my friends too.

Thank you, Byron Aged Care.  You are the “Quiet Achiever” in a world that is all too frequently self-congratulatory. Well-done. Very well-done indeed.

Ray Moynihan

Byron aged Care has provided a haven for my Mum during a very challenging time in her life. I’ve found the staff friendly and compassionate and there’s often some fun activity happening, whether its movies, music or movement sessions. The modest size of the place and the fact that its community-owned enables a real intimacy, the food is cooked fresh, and there are lots of sunny spaces in the gardens for a cup of tea when you’re visiting. I’m more than happy to give permission for the use of these comments publicly.