Wharerangi Care Creates New Home
18 September 2015
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Wharerangi manager Anne-Marie Wakefield with Healthcare Assistant Zoe Kinnaird
Taupo Times, Taupo King Country
One of the most familiar faces at Wharerangi rest home started there as a volunteer in the 1980's, as Robert Steven discovers....
If you stand in the central corridor of Wharerangi rest home, you will soon meet Zoe Kinnaird. She will be the smiling woman bustling past, her hands full of sheets, clothes, or a mop. She will be the one the elderly residents at the Taupo rest home grin at – the one they ask for help, or to pass them one of the home’s two resident moggies.
Kinnaird is trusted because she has been an assistant at the Taupo rest home since 1988. For nearly 27 years, she has chatted with the residents, as well as helped dress and bathe them. Kinnaird, who was originally from Raetihi, said she approached Wharerangi rest home soon after she first arrived in Taupo. While looking for work, she couldn’t help but keep busy. ‘‘I wasn’t doing much, so I asked Wharerangi if they had any volunteer work,’’ Kinnaird said. After volunteering for three months, she was offered a job in the kitchen.
Kinnaird soon made friends with the rest home residents and their families. ‘‘My knowledge of the community branched out from there and I came to know many people in town,’’ she said.
The rest home on Kaimanawa St has 47 rooms, including 13 that cater for residents with dementia.
Working as a healthcare assistant gave Kinnaird a fascinating insight into the lives of older New Zealanders, she said. ‘‘We get to find out their background, their stories; where they’ve come from and where they have been.’’ She said the women liked to talk, but often the men were very reserved. Over time, and with persistence though, she would gain a resident’s trust – and they would start to share. ‘‘Once you know what their background is, you know how to offer them better care.’’
Helping the residents get involved with the many activities at the rest home was another delight – especially when children came to visit for singing or dancing performances. ‘‘They do love having children here – you can see their eyes glow when the kiddies come in,’’ Kinnaird said. ‘‘Everyone tries to be there for the residents – you can go out of your way to become part of their family.’’
The level of trust between residents and healthcare assistants meant the rest home had the atmosphere of a family, she said. ‘‘There’s always someone here who will connect with [a resident] and make them their own. ‘‘As far as I’m concerned, we’re family.’’
Find out more about Wharerangi Rest Home