| Apr 23, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - April 23, 2009 New retirement home opening in MaberlyBy Jeff Green

Fleur Hardy in front of the new River House Retirement Home.

When Fleur Hardy was 10 years old, and living in England, she had her first experience with the elderly.

It all started when she offered to carry some grocery bags for an elderly lady she met at a street corner.

“This was something we were encouraged to do, help the elderly, so I thought I should make the offer,” she recalls now. “It turned out to be quite a long way to the house, but I got an offer to Sunday Tea out of it, and I went. I still remember being served a whole goose egg and some digestive biscuits.”

Fleur kept in contact with the couple, who she realised were quite poor, and as an adolescent she used to pick apples from their orchard and sell them to raise money for the couple.

That experience has led, indirectly, into a lifelong career in long-term care for Fleur. She's worked in all sorts of situations, including in long-term care facilities, and all of this has led to her wanting to establish an alternative environment for seniors who are seeking what she calls a more “carefree lifestyle” than is offered in other locations.

The River House Retirement Home, located just north of the Fall River Bridge in Maberly, was purchased by Fleur, who lives in Ompah, about a year ago and has undergone upgrades and renovations to satisfy the “mountains of red tape” that come along with starting up a retirement home.

“It's cost more money than I want to think about,” says Fleur, “but the officials from Tay Valley Township have been very helpful and we are now ready to open”.

River House can accommodate up to 10 seniors, including up to 2 that are confined to a wheelchair. It includes single rooms and a couple of shared accommodation rooms on the ground floor “that would be suitable for couples, who would be able to keep their pets because it has a separate entrance,” said Fleur, who is a dog owner and breeder herself.

In hiring cooks, personal care staff, and others, Fleur said she was intent on hiring people with the right kind of disposition to work in a more informal, family-like setting while providing care for clientele that range from more or less independent seniors to those with mild to moderate dementia.

The home features 24-hour help and security, and is located within a short drive of the new seniors’ centre and medical centre in Sharbot Lake, and services in Perth, including the Perth hospital.

Where possible, Fleur will be working with her staff to bring services into the home itself. “We are filling a niche for those people who are ready to leave their home, but do not need or want the services of a long-term care facility, which is an atmosphere full of rules. If people want breakfast in their room, we'll bring it to them. We aren't about telling people what to do and when,” said Fleur.

The River House will be holding an open house on Friday May 2 between 10 am and 2 pm. Further information is available at riverhouseretirementhomeinc.com

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