Aged-care merger for Wairarapa

By Erin Kavanagh-Hall

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JOINING FORCES: Carter Court is looking to amalgamate with Masonic Village.
JOINING FORCES: Carter Court is looking to amalgamate with Masonic Village.

Carterton's oldest rest home is looking to amalgamate - to provide more affordable care to Wairarapa's elderly.

Carter Society Incorporated and the Masonic Villages Trust are discussing a merger of services between Carter Court Rest Home and Wairarapa Masonic Village on Edith St, Masterton.

Both rest homes are not-for-profit, meaning all funds received go towards the care of the residents.

Carter Court manager Chris Clarke said pooling resources with Masonic Village would not only mean financial security, but would allow the rest home to provide a bigger range of services.

"If we want to provide the services our community needs, we need to be a bit bigger," said Mr Clarke. "That way we can invest in our facilities and improve on them.

"But we wanted to align with a provider that has the same goals and philosophies, like the Masonic Villages, so we could hold on to that community identity."

Carter Court has been community owned and governed since 1901, when it was gifted to the town by Carterton founding father Charles Rooking Carter as Carter Home, a home for aged men.

However, said Mr Clarke, without the "huge bank balances" of the for-profit companies, the rest home had not been able to provide certain services, such as independent villas.

In fact, under the current government funding model for aged care, rest home services are subsidised by a provider having on-site independent living villas - which Carter Court does not have.

Following the merger and addition of on-site villas, Mr Clarke hopes to provide both independent living and rest home services at affordable rates.

"With our ageing population, there will be more people needing affordable housing in their retirement," he said. "There will also be a large number of people who can't afford independent living options, and who will fall under the radar of the current government funding. So, we want to have those affordable options here in Carterton."

Mr Clarke said Carter Court had been given the go-ahead to build two new retirement villas on-site and was awaiting resource consent from Carterton District Council.

A merge between Carter Court and Wairarapa Masonic Village will also allow the rest home to offer hospital care services, which it has not had the financial capability to do up until now.

Mr Clarke said discussions between Carter Society and the Masonic Villages Trust were "ongoing" and a date for a possible merge had not been confirmed - but both parties were hopeful it would happen "sooner, rather than later".

Both rest homes will continue operating from their sites.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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