Age Concern Wanganui's new manager Michelle Malcolm is thrilled to be working in Whanganui and helping to make a difference for older people in the community.

Although Malcolm didn't move to Whanganui until she was 16, she says it has "always been home".

"When we lived in Wellington for a while, we'd come 'home' to Whanganui at weekends," she said.

Malcolm's working life has been predominantly in the not-for-profit sector.

Advertisement

Her uncle owned the former Twin Palms rest home on Anzac Pde and Malcolm started working there as a volunteer when she was 16.

After the birth of her daughter, she went back into the aged care sector for 10 years then moved into the disability sector, working for IHC and IDEA Services for 22 years. During that time she was a support worker, service manager, area manager and then general manager based in Palmerston North.

"I then got a job as manager of a rest home and retirement village in Feilding," Malcolm said.

"I've enjoyed all my jobs but I loved that job, having interaction with people every day.

"I noticed that families often didn't know what was available for respite care and day care for the elderly and there was quite a gap in services."

Malcolm says Age Concern can assist families and older people with accessing services and information.

"This is a fantastic organisation and it's very beneficial for people in Whanganui, not just elderly people. When this job came up, I thought what an opportunity to be part of such a reputable organisation and be able to have day-to-day contact with people.

"I wasn't aware of all the services Age Concern provides until I went and had a look. I was amazed. I would like to continue with the programmes that are available and also engage with people about what they want to be involved in or what they think would be great to have.

"I'm concerned about loneliness and isolation for older people. Often their families don't live close by and, this is not a judgment, families are so busy these days with work and children's activities that time can go by without them being able to visit elderly relatives.

"I want to look at what we can do as an agency to help with the issues around isolation. There's a lot of brilliant support out there for people who are older - it's about bringing it all together."

Malcolm started in the role on Monday, January 7, and says she has "big shoes to fill" after former manager Tracy Lynn resigned to look for a new challenge after 10 years in the job.