Takaro Lodge remembered with fondness

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Oamaru Hospital’s Takaro Lodge may be closing, but its legacy will live on.

The four-bed, hospital-level palliative care unit closed its doors last week, with its four residents moved to Observatory Retirement Village last Thursday.

Since its opening in May 2007, 18 people have been cared for long term at the unit.

A small gathering was held at the lodge on Tuesday last week to mark its closure. It was attended by residents, their families and hospital staff, who shared morning tea.

Those who have died at the lodge over the years were also remembered, in the form of 14 burning candles.

Oamaru Hospital chief executive Robert Gonzales said staff had always strived to make the unit as comfortable as possible for its residents.

“It’s how we tried to operate it, doing our best to make them feel at home .. just making sure they’re looked after well in their last few days of life. But, a lot were here for two or three years before they passed.

“I think it’s been a great area, adjacent to the park and in the middle of town .. it’s been easy for people to come and take mum or dad out for a stroll in the gardens or to watch young family swim at the pool. They’ve also had the occasional excitement through the years with the helicopter coming in – that’s happened a lot more in the past few years.”

He believed the lodge’s lasting legacy would be the memories people have shared with their loved ones.

“In people’s memories I think that Takaro Lodge, even though it won’t be Takaro Lodge any more, will live on.”

Former resident 85-year-old Mona Fraser, who now liveds at the retirement village, said she was sad to leave but expected to be well looked after at her new home.

“They spoiled me rotten here, but I’ve been told I’ll get spoiled rotten there too.”

Mr Gonzales said the lodge’s four beds would now likely be used as care beds.

The construction of Takaro Lodge was funded through the Waitaki District Health Services Trust and a substantial grant from the Oamaru Licensing Trust.

Its four rooms were furnished through financial donations.

It is one of two aged-care facilities that have closed in Oamaru in recent times, the other being Rendell on Reed, which moved its 35 residents to the retirement village last week.