WHEN John Kilpatrick agreed to temporarily fill a vacancy on Anglican Care’s board of directors, he did not realise it was the start of an almost five decade relationship with the organisation.
“I would have laughed,” Mr Kilpatrick AM, 81, said.
“I would not have believed I’d still be here after 47 years but I’ve really enjoyed it.
“The care to me has always been the paramount thing – you can have nice buildings, but you’re only as good as your staff. The people here really make a difference.”
Mr Kilpatrick stepped down as Anglican Care chairman on Wednesday, after taking the organisation from one aged care home in Booragul with 150 residents to 12 homes and two self care facilities serving more than 1400 across the region.
“I’m a little bit sad because it’s been a big part of my and [wife] Ellen’s life for many many years and we won’t see a lot of the people we know as often as we do now,” he said.
“But it’s time to change the guard and get someone else in.
“Aged care is very much evolving and it’s time to get someone in who has a different perspective.”
Mr Kilpatrick said funding arrangements required providers to allocate 20 per cent of beds to the financially disadvantaged, but he was proud the figure was closer to 40 per cent at Anglican Care.
He said the not-for-profit organisation had absorbed a Bulahdelah facility – and was in talks about a Gloucester facility – to ensure communities did not have to move their loved ones.
“Nowadays government policy is about caring for people in their own home, but we have to make sure those carers are looked after too.”
Mr Kilpatrick, a great grandfather to three, is looking forward to more time with his family.