New dementia unit opens at Coraki

THE Minister for Ageing may not have been there to unveil the plaque as planned, but Carol Thurgate was still happy to see Coraki's new dementia facility officially opened on Saturday.

The new eight-bed specialist ward has been added to existing services at the Mid Richmond Residents' Village, with five residents moving in last week.

Ms Thurgate, who is manager of the village, said that planning for the dementia centre started many years ago after she attended a conference in Melbourne and was staggered by the future predictions for dementia cases.

“The numbers were astronomical - it is expected to triple in the next 20 years,” she said.

The dementia centre is enclosed by a fence so residents aren't able to wander off and get lost. It has been named Fairway Cottage because it overlooks the golf course and has an outdoor garden area.

According to architect James Lyon, it has been designed to be 'bright, breezy and happy'.

“I wanted people to feel at home and comfortable,” he said.

Mr Lyon said that with the large number of baby boomers moving to the area, and the predicted increase in dementia cases in the population, centres such as this would become 'extremely necessary'.

The Federal Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot, was expected to conduct the official opening, but she failed to appear.

A spokesperson for her office said she was already booked for another engagement at Tyalgum and was never able to attend. They have apologised to the Mid Richmond Residents Village for the mix-up.

Richmond Valley Mayor Col Sullivan conducted the opening.

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