COOLIBAH CARE: A supportive, caring community awaits


"Tell us what your best day looks like and we will help you make it happen".

That is the philosophy of Mandurah-based aged care provider Coolibah Care, which has proudly served the Peel region for half a century.

CEO Merinda March said what sets Coolibah Care apart is that residents are actively involved in planning their own support.

"We think everyone deserves this, so we work collaboratively with people and their families to create a positive experience," she said.

In addition to its flexible range of home care packages, Coolibah Care offers a variety of residential options for seniors who require varying levels of assistance with day-to-day living.

This includes a bright, light and airy fully-secure 29-bed building specially adapted as a community for those residents with dementia, supported by a team of professional staff trained and experienced in the skilled requirements of dementia care.

Similarly, Coolibah Care's palliative unit offers a quiet, comfortable environment where fully-trained and experienced palliative care staff work in collaboration with external organisations such as Silver Chain and Palliative Care WA to offer exceptional end-of-life care.

The right time for a loved one to enter residential aged care can be difficult to determine, and depends on a range of factors.

However, with waiting lists growing and the often-lengthy process of obtaining an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) assessment, Merinda recommends making the initial, no-obligation inquiry sooner rather than later.

"It's often after events like Easter and Christmas get-togethers when people realise Mum or Dad is not coping as well as they should be," Merinda said.

"Perhaps you've noticed a parent is having difficulty with cleaning or dressing or you are concerned they might have a fall in the shower.

"It's difficult when people know Mum or Dad need help but they don't know how to help them. Contact us and we will help you navigate the aged care system."

Coolibah Care offers extensive services in its residential village to enable residents to live independently while receiving the support they need, something that provides welcome reassurance for individuals and their families.

Independent and serviced living apartments offer a variety of support options including dining, cleaning and laundry services.

A bus operates to and from Coolibah Care's village to support residents who do not have transport.

Meanwhile, Coolibah Care's lifestyle programs are tailored to residents' interests, Merinda explained.

These have included such varied activities as excursions to the Mandurah foreshore, fishing, music days, happy hours, morning teas, bingo, visits from a therapy dog and visiting pianists to entertain residents, many of these possible due to a dedicated team of friendly volunteers.

Coolibah Care regularly organises special events to mark significant occasions, including recent ANZAC Day commemorations where residents were able to engage with returned soldiers.

A men's program ensures gents who might not want to do craft, colouring-in or have their nails painted can take part in activities they are interested in.

"Wherever possible we also match residents to staff with similar interests," Merinda said.

"So if they both enjoy, say, motorsport, they can get together to have conversations about it.

"Also, recognising that a community is built around food we have made food a central focus.

"We cook fresh food onsite and work in partnership with a catering partner to engage with residents, showing them how meals are cooked and allowing them to have input.

"There is a focus on living well and community engagement - finding ways to bring that outside community in, and working out what we need to do to support our residents to have the best day possible."

July 15 will mark Coolibah Care's 50th birthday, and the team has planned some exciting events to celebrate the milestone later this year.

In the lead-up to that anniversary, renovations have been taking place to further enhance Coolibah Care's extensive facilities.

"Last year we redeveloped our serviced apartments and we expect the redevelopment of our village to be finished on May 17," Merinda said.

"We will also start building a new 20-bed addition to the facility in November, and will build a new commercial kitchen and laundry, and staff amenities.

"The board has taken the position that it's 50 years and we are moving Coolibah Care forward to meet the needs of people now and who will be coming to live here in the future."