Garden Village will host an art exhibition, May 3rd and 4th, to assist with the planning and development of a new Memory Care Centre, that will better support those living with dementia in our community. Artist Erika Rohr tells us more about the exhibition …
Hi Erika; thanks so much for speaking with FOCUS. You’re an accomplished local artist here in Port Macquarie. What encouraged you to put your hand up to host an art exhibition in support of raising funds for Garden Village’s new Memory Care Centre?
It has given me great pleasure getting involved in such a fantastic project. Garden Village is forever trying to improve the facilities for their residents, especially areas for those needing more care and attention. The Memory Care Centre project is the most needed one, so any money raised will go to help dementia patients. This will be an area where they’ll feel safe and happy. Since we moved into Cascades at Garden Village, I’ve needed to get involved in the community. This exhibition gave me a great opportunity to get to know the residents and exhibit my paintings. I will be exhibiting about thirty paintings, with a mixture of oils, watercolour and acrylics.
There will be other artists exhibiting, including a local artist who paints in all mediums, and from the residents, portrait paintings in watercolours, some pencil sketches, photographs of the local area, and “visual garden art pieces”. There is also a staff member exhibiting some of her creative jewellery pieces and a spinner and some members of the Wauchope Quilter’s Group presenting as well. Everyone has been very active in organising the event, even the Men’s Shed, who have made the frames for the display.
Your landscapes showcasing our natural surrounds are beautiful. Who or what inspires you artistically and creatively?
Port Macquarie is such a beautiful place, with all our lovely beaches and fantastic scenery. I love painting the beaches and waves – there is so much movement and colour. I mainly like traditional work, but have experience with modern and contemporary pieces as well. My family encourage me to continue painting, since we moved into Cascades. Often they ask me to paint something special, like their favourite pet or a scene. My friends also have requests. I will attempt any subject – even portraits – not my strong area.
What are your favourite types of materials to work with and why?
I mainly paint in oils – also watercolour and acrylics. I love painting in oils, as you can create different textures and techniques.
Where can our readers see more of your work and find out more about you?
From time to time I exhibit at the different art exhibitions in the local area. This month I’ll be exhibiting in the Easter Exhibition at the Port Macquarie Art Society in Hastings River Drive. We’re anticipating having an annual exhibition at Cascades, where we’ll be inviting other artists in the future to exhibit as well.
FOCUS also speaks with Garden Village’s CEO, Craig Wearne, about the inception of a new Memory Care Centre at the village.
Hi Craig. Garden Village has one of the highest occupancy rates of residents living in the retirement and aged care community in Port Macquarie. The creation of a new “Memory Care Centre” established at the village would certainly add another distinctive “care” aspect that residents could receive onsite. Tell us about the significance of this for Garden Village?
Dementia is a really important area to discuss and understand. Dementia describes symptoms from disorders affecting the brain. It is not one specific disease with different types – Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia.
Dementia affects thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks and is associated with significant memory loss.
We know that at least one in 11 or approximately 2,000 people in Port Macquarie are living with Dementia, and we are pleased that we are contributing to the specialised care of people with Dementia by developing an 11 bed Memory Care Centre. We know this will provide a substantial contribution to the community, with only 50 beds available in Port Macquarie, and look forward to the centre opening later this year.
What specific Dementia care services can people living with Dementia and their carers look to benefit from at the centre?
Prospective residents will enjoy a home-like environment with centrally located lounge, dining and kitchen. The outdoor sensory environment space will be enhanced with sensory features to stimulate their senses and positive memories.
The Garden Village Auxiliary provides wonderful support to facilitate the care and support of residents within the aged care home. The Auxiliary volunteer their time, led by Helen Guthrie, the current Auxiliary President and have organised an art exhibition to help fundraise for the centre. These funds will contribute to the outdoor sensory space, providing for furnishings and greenery.
Aside from the development of this new centre, what other plans are in motion for Garden Village going forward?
We continue to focus on providing the highest levels of care to our residents within the Garden Village community. We enjoy consistently improving and working with our residents and their families as we continue on this journey. The feedback we receive from our residents, families and staff is invaluable.
The Board and I have a strong Master Plan that provides for the ongoing updating of the aged care home, and a new apartment retirement village development in the north east corner of our village, in addition to a Wellness Centre providing restorative health and wellness services to older Australians.
As the CEO at Garden Village, what do you love most about your role?
I have worked in the health and aged care environment for most of my career, with a total of 26 years in the industry. I enjoy working and leading an organisation and a group of dedicated people that come to work every day to provide relationship focused care. It is an interesting time to lead an aged care and retirement living organisation, and I need to make sure the fundamental care that we provide to our residents, with our Director of Care and clinical leaders, is consistently improving and we are able to meet the challenges in the industry now and into the future.
Garden Village is a benevolent not for profit organisation and has been part of the Port Macquarie community for 40 years – our Vision is built on these fundamentals and is the reason why Garden Village remains a premier provider and why I am passionate about leading the team at Garden Village.
Interviews: Sarah Dunstan.