FROM 10 rooms in 1956 to 114 today, aged care facility Autumn Lodge celebrated 60 years of service on Saturday.
Called the Benevolent Asylum in 1895, Autumn Lodge has come a long way since its humble beginnings.
CEO Lyn Bruce has been in aged care for 15 years and said she was proud to be a part of the 60th anniversary.
“I started in acute aged care running emergency departments in intensive care units," she said.
“I suppose the biggest thing was seeing the frail and elderly coming from aged care homes and lying around in emergency departments.
“I wanted to try and make a difference and make sure we had better trained staff in our aged care services so that people didn’t have to go to hospital.”
After the World War the council decided to establish a community centre.
A committee began to investigate the possibility of a Senior Citizen’s Centre as a centenary year project in 1963.
On Saturday residents, volunteers, staff and committee members met at Willowdene, one of the two first cottages built on the site 60 years ago.
Officially opened on November 3, 1956 the hostel was placed under the care of the Armidale Homes for the Aged.
Ms Bruce said the philosophy herself and staff live by is to create a forever home for their residents.
“To me, people are not moving into a home, they’re moving home,” she said.
“Moving home into care is not about taking away people’s rights or their dignity, it’s about empowering them, enabling them to still make decisions about their lives.”
Ms Bruce said it takes a big-hearted person to work in aged care.
“You’ve really got to love people and the biggest thing is that you’ve got to be a people person and be willing to do whatever’s needed,” she said.
“What we try to do is empower people, elderly people can become quite dependent if you let them.
“We try to make sure people are able to make decisions about what they do and how they live.
Autumn Lodge celebrated at the Willowdene Cottage.