Jim Heron pointed to two certificates on the wall.
“We’ve got OBEs,” he said. “Over bloody eighties.”
Jim and wife Valda are among the 72 residents of the new Uniting Wontama aged care home in Byng Street who happily celebrated its official opening on Thursday.
And they are among four couples who have their own shared rooms in the complex which has cost $30 million to build and taken many years of planning and work.
This future of aged care in Orange puts household living as its benchmark.
The 72 people are separated into four households.
A further group of people will live in the refurbished Clancy Weston Lodge with the whole complex providing care for 148 people.
Mr Heron moved into the complex in January.
The retired radio and electrical engineer said it been a good move.
“It’s great, it’s just like home, the staff are fantastic,” he said.
“It’s better than I expected.”
Daughter Rhonda Redenbach said it was more like a home than a hospital.
“It’s great that we could keep mum and dad together,” she said.
Uniting executive director Peter Worland said it was aimed at providing the best possible living experience and care for residents.
“This is best practice that we are introducing here in Orange,” he said.
“What we have here at Wontama is the best that we at Uniting can do.”
He said the project had taken about 15 years to plan, develop and construct.
“A lot of people have contributed,” he said.
Uniting head of property development Adrian Ciano said the old way of aged care, providing four-bed rooms with shared bathroom facilities, had been replaced by a more caring plan.
“It’s all about de-institutionalising residential aged care,” he said.
Mr Ciano said that in the new complex every room had an ensuite while dining, kitchen, laundry and other facilities were much more accessible than before.
Uniting Wontama service manager Helen Mobbs said Orange currently had an over-supply of aged care beds with vacancies at most facilities.
She said there were seven vacancies at the Clancy Weston Lodge.
“There is an over-abundance at the moment,” she said.
“Residents are staying at home longer, but they are coming into care when they are more frailer.
“There is more community-based care.
“Twenty years ago people would come at 65 because it was more a retirement village.”
But she said now the average age of residents was 80-85 years.
“Quite a lot of them are in their 90s,” she said.