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Family . . . Belinda and Tim Blackler with baby Charlie and Winston the dog at Southanjer. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/RACHEL WYBROW

Giving residents a “sense of purpose” has won North Otago rest-home Southanjer national recognition.

Southanjer has been run by Tim and Belinda Blackler for three and a-half years and is the only facility in Oamaru that offers secure, solely dementia-level care.

It was awarded the Invacare Small Operator Industry Award at the New Zealand Aged Care Association (NZACA) Excellence in Care Awards held in Wellington last month.

Mrs Blacker said it was the first time the home had entered the awards, and to win was recognition of the “incredible team” of staff it had and its efforts to put residents “at the forefront” of everything they do.

Because Southanjer was a small, family-run business, there was a “real family aspect and atmosphere”.

Residents were like family, she said.

“And their family becomes part of our family.”

Residents loved spending time in the backyard feeding pigs and chickens, collecting eggs and harvesting vegetables from the garden.

Native plantings had begun to attract fantails, pukeko and tui.

A small number of cattle meant some of the residents also enjoyed helping Mr Blackler shift breaks.

Due to its rural location in Thousand Acre Rd, and because North Otago is a farming district, the home tended to attract ex-farmers and farming families, so the animals and garden gave the residents a sense of purpose, Mrs Blackler said.

“So they’re not just sitting around. They have the opportunity to come out here and do things.”

There are 24 secure units at Southanjer and the Blacklers also run Northanjer, with 15 beds, in Thames Hwy in Oamaru’s North End.

The NZACA, formerly HealthCare Providers New Zealand, created awards for excellence in aged residential care in 2007.

The award won by Southanjer recognised “the outstanding work of smaller operators in the NZ aged residential care industry in caring for, supporting and enriching the lives of residents, their families and staff”, the NZACA website said.

As part of its award, Southanjer won two hospital-care beds.Running sport mediaNike – Shoes & Sportswear Clothing