Strathdon Community celebrates 50 years of care

Uniting AgeWell’s Strathdon Community celebrated 50 years of delivering high-quality care to seniors in March.  

The aged care residence hosted an official celebration and indoor garden party, complete with a commemorative ice sculpture, Uniting AgeWell cake and a parade of fashions from the past half century.

More than 20 residents from the facility and adjoining independent living units and staff  donned their best costumes and took to the catwalk to entertain the large audience.

One of the longest-residing residents, Loloma Tyson, who has lived at Strathdon Community for 20 years, cut the cake at the celebration.  She did so alongside one of the longest-serving staff members, Jennifer Best, who has worked at Strathdon for 27 years.

Uniting AgeWell CEO Andrew Kinnersly said he was filled with pride to see everyone come together at the event. 

“Congratulations to everyone involved and thankyou to everyone who has contributed to making Strathdon Community such a fantastic place over the past 50 years,” he said.

Long-term donor Clem Dickinson spoke at the celebration.  He praised the “remarkable insight” of the Matheson family who donated the land on which Strathdon was built, for “enabling a vision to become a reality, giving respect to ageing”.

Clem’s relationship with Strathdon Community began 30 years ago, when he was asked to assist with fundraising efforts, and he has remained connected ever since. 

“The incredible staff are the providers of dignified care and selfless attention,” he said.

“Volunteers unobtrusively help transform the impossible by bringing hope, cheer and possibility.”

The Strathdon Community has experienced tremendous growth over the years, with support from local donors and Presbyterian and Uniting Church congregations.

Uniting AgeWell Board Chair Raelene Thompson said Strathdon Community led the way in terms of size and innovation. 

“The HUR Gym that started here has been so successful that we’ve now introduced it in a couple of other sites across Melbourne,” she said.

“We’ve had the trial of the UA Buddy (smart tablet) program, which aims to connect people who perhaps can’t physically go places or their families cannot go to them.”

She said there were many other examples of times when the Strathdon Community had paved the way by successfully introducing services or programs, enabling other Uniting AgeWell sites to adopt change without concern.