Meet Stella – who feels right at home at Harden Grange

Originally from Poland and a survivor of a German World War II camp, Stella moved to Australia with her Mother when she was 15 years old. She first lived in Cowra, then moved to Wollongong when she married, before settling in Harden over 34 years ago.

What do you like about living at Harden Grange?

I think the happiest times in my life have been spent in this town, and to be able to remain living here means everything. I love being part of the Harden Grange community very much and I keep as active as I can, joining in the activities and encouraging other residents to participate, too.

What things do you like to do here?

I love knitting. I first learnt to knit by watching other women in the camp in Germany. I would stand behind them and try to follow their movements, until one day, one of them showed me how to do it properly. I now sit in the loungeroom here and do my knitting, and it’s very peaceful.

What do you make?

I knit woollen squares and donate them to a charity called ‘Quilting Hugs for Ukrainians’. They sew my squares into blankets and send them to those in Ukraine who have been displaced due to the war. I’m so happy to do this because I love helping people. It gives me purpose knowing that something I’ve made can make a difference to someone on the other side of the world.

To find out more about respite or permanent aged care at Harden Grange, please contact our friendly team by calling (02) 5330 8000 or emailing

Apollo Care Alliance wins Global Award for Innovation 

Harden Grange is proud to be part of the Apollo Care Alliance that beat a field of over 200 submissions from 15 countries to win two major awards at the prestigious 11th Asia Pacific Eldercare Innovation Awards 2023 in Singapore.

Distinguished judges from the UK, Finland, Japan, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand awarded Apollo Care Innovation of the Year (Productivity) for organisational efficiencies and delivery of quality care. Apollo Care was also a finalist in two other categories – Operator of the Year (Residential Aged Care) and Innovation of the Year (Caregiver Model).

Accepting the award, Apollo Care’s CEO Stephen Becsi OAM said, “We took our new aged care industry model to an international stage and showed that it works for everyone – residents, their families, care workers, vendors and investors.”

“Apollo Care invests in innovation to make aged care better for residents and staff. 

“We strengthen each of our community’s care and operations through enhanced productivity, efficiency, compliance and, most importantly, resident experience,” Mr Becsi explained.

“At Harden Grange, for example, residents and staff are enjoying the benefits of a range of improvements and upgrades, including extensive country-style refurbishments, a cutting-edge cloud-based IT system, new hand-held mobile devices for every care worker, and a progressive clinical governance system.

“It’s important to us that aged care services are sustained in regional areas, so locals needing residential care can stay connected to their community where they feel they belong,” said Mr Becsi.

Since commencing in 2020, Apollo Care has acquired seven communities and is in advanced negotiations to acquire a further six. This makes Apollo Care one of Australia’s fastest growing aged care providers.

Apollo Care was built from the ground up by a team of four industry veterans with a cumulative 85 years’ experience. In addition to Stephen Becsi, formerly CEO of Bethanie, WA’s largest NFP provider, Apollo Care’s leadership team comprises Barry Ashcroft, former CEO of Domain Aged Care, now Opal; Kylie Radburn, former National Care Governance Manager at Aveo; and John Young, a leading equity capital specialist.

“Our collective experience and ability to innovate are also crucial to addressing the tight labour market in Australia,” says Mr Becsi. “Attracting and retaining staff is a significant challenge and we’re constantly investing in our workforce. This includes measuring job satisfaction and productivity across the organisation via our proprietary dashboard,” said Mr Becsi.

To find out more about Harden Grange, call our friendly admissions team on (02) 5330 8000.

Meet Lucy – our Community Manager

Hilltops’ local, Lucy Rowe, is passionate about residential aged care and has spent her entire career working in this industry. She brings over 16 years of care and management experience to her role at Harden Grange and has a deep commitment to ensuring our community is a welcoming, positive and happy environment for residents and staff.

What do you love about working in aged care?

I knew I wanted a career where I could help people every day. When I first started as a Carer in a Cowra aged care community, I fell in love with how rewarding this industry is and I’ve never wanted to leave it.

What do you think makes Harden Grange so special?

The Hilltops Region is a proud and connected community where locals feel they belong. This sense of belonging is reflected in so many ways at Harden Grange. From the country-style interiors to the way our staff have formed such close connections with residents, it’s quickly become a welcoming environment that’s valued by the entire region.

How do you think you’re making a difference to residents and staff?

One the most rewarding aspects of my role is getting to know each and every resident. It’s so important that we respect and learn from our elders, and I greatly value the daily conversations and interactions I have with Harden Grange residents. Along with supporting my team to deliver excellent clinical care, my focus is also on celebrating residents’ unique stories and strengths.

I’m lucky to work with a passionate team who are united in a positive culture of caring. I love supporting staff to continue learning and developing as we work together to enhance the wellbeing of every resident.

Our entire team enjoys having the support of Apollo Care’s industry-leading aged care specialists across human resources, governance, technology and finance. It’s exciting to be part of such an innovative alliance that’s making the future of Harden Grange so strong.

Fun Facts

Favourite pastime: Gardening, although I’m not very good at it!

Favourite food: My Mum’s beef stew, especially on a cold winter’s night

Watching TV or reading a book: Neither. I much prefer listening to podcasts.

Favourite way to relax: I’d rather be busy than relax!

Favourite childhood memory: Visiting my grandparents’ farm every weekend. Such happy memories!

Strong demand for Harden Grange drives new job opportunities

In positive news for the Hilltops Region, Harden Grange Aged Care Community has been so well supported by locals that over 50% of the private suites are now occupied. This significant milestone comes less than four months after opening – well ahead of Apollo Care’s initial expectations. As a result of this demand, the Community is now able to offer more job opportunities to locals.

Kylie Radburn, Apollo Care Chief Governance Officer and Chairperson of HRDC Community Limited, the not-for-profit entity that operates Harden Grange, said that this news reflects how much the wider community values having a quality aged care provider in the local area.

“We knew that locals wanted the opportunity to stay living in this beautiful region as they age, and we’re delighted that Harden Grange is fulfilling that need for so many residents already,” said Ms Radburn.

Residential Service Manager, Lucy Rowe, added that the refurbishments throughout Harden Grange have now been completed.

“Each household has been fully renovated using a heritage colour scheme and country-style furniture and fittings. There’s also a homely loungeroom with a fireplace in each household, where residents love to relax,” said Lucy.

“Respite care at Harden Grange offers locals an opportunity to trial living here without committing to a long-term contact. We have found every resident who has trialled, though, has decided to stay on as permanent resident which is testament to how much they enjoyed their time with us.”

Lucy also reported that the strong increase in Harden Grange’s occupancy has translated into team growth.

“We’ve recently welcomed new Registered Nurses, Support Services staff, and a number of new Personal Care Workers – all of whom are locals!

“We’re still looking for more team members, though, particularly to add to our Nursing, Care and Lifestyle teams and we’ll continue our locals-first recruitment strategy wherever possible,” she said.

“Harden Grange also offers flexible career pathways for TAFE or high-school students, or those returning to the workforce. We function as a living classroom where students or trainees can learn in a real-world setting, supported not only by their teachers, but by our team of caring professionals.”

To find out more about our respite or permanent aged care at Harden Grange, please contact our friendly team by calling (02) 5330 8000 or emailing

Investment in technology enhancing resident experience

Harden Grange is one of the first aged care communities in south-west New South Wales to introduce CareKeeper, a cutting-edge mobile technology that enhances the delivery of care to residents.

The community is part of the Apollo Care Alliance, a progressive national provider that uses innovation to make aged care better for residents and staff.

CareKeeper, developed by Telstra Health, allows every Nurse, Carer and Lifestyle Team Member to access important information about each resident’s care needs, including clinical information and lifestyle choices and preferences, on a handheld mobile device in real time.

All staff are able to quickly view, action and record care information or tasks while being at the resident’s side.

Each resident’s individual preferences, such as choice of daily routine or favourite activities, are also accessible giving staff more opportunities to engage meaningfully with residents to provide a truly holistic care experience.

Staff are excited about the rollout of the technology saying it reduces paperwork and time spent at nurse’s stations.

“I love this technology! It gives our team all the up-to-date information we need at our fingertips. It’s far more efficient than paper charts because we only need to input information once, and there’s less risk of error. This increased efficiency allows us to spend more quality time with each resident,” said Registered Nurse, Kylie Hayter.

The Lifestyle Team agrees.

“I can look at CareKeeper and instantly see what kind of activities or hobbies a resident enjoys, or I can access notes that can spark lovely conversations. This makes for a more positive and personal way to engage with residents,” Debbie Tonkin commented.

CareKeeper is part of Apollo Care’s overall strategy to ensure every care worker is equipped with a mobile device that delivers wider benefits including enhanced team collaboration.

To find out more about our welcoming country-style community, please contact our friendly team by calling (02) 5330 8000 or emailing

Returning home to Harden means the world to local resident, Gloria

Since opening its doors in January, the newly renovated Harden Grange Aged Care Community has warmly welcomed 23 residents.

Most of these are returning locals who have been overjoyed to return to the Hilltops Region.

For resident, Gloria Corey, being able to call Harden home once again means everything.

“I used to live in the Retirement Village here but moved to Port Macquarie to live with my son, Trevor. When my care needs increased, I had to move to an aged care community in Port Macquarie because there was no aged care community in Harden,” said Gloria.

“When my son told me that Harden Grange was opening and I could move back home, I was so happy! I’m very attached to this beautiful area. There’s nothing like living where you were raised.”

Gloria moved to Harden Grange in February and has wasted no time in making this community feel like home.

“I can spend my day any way I like. After all, at almost 96 years old, I should be able to make my own decisions! The staff here support me to remain as independent as possible, and they care for me so wonderfully,” Gloria said.

A regular visitor to Harden’s on-site hairdressing salon, Gloria also loves spending time in the café, in one of the sunny courtyards or enjoying meals with other residents in the dining room.

“We’re lucky to have so many welcoming spaces here to use as we wish. And the food is freshly made here, too. I especially love the sweets!”

From her private suite, Gloria enjoys sweeping views over the surrounding hills and can even see her former unit in the Retirement Village.

“I spent five very happy years in that unit, and I love being able to look out of my window and see it now. I have visits from my old neighbours there, Peggy and Judy.

“Harden Grange is a safe, welcoming and familiar place to live. I really do feel like I’ve come home.”

At Harden Grange, we love making residents feel at home. To find out more about our welcoming country-style community, please contact our friendly team by calling (02) 5330 8000 or emailing

How respite care can support an elderly loved one

Respite care in Harden Grange Aged Care Community can be a safe and affordable short-term solution for older locals needing some extra support.

Families can enjoy peace of mind knowing that their loved one will be cared for in a community designed to feel like home, while being supported to remain as independent as possible.

Respite care is commonly used to ensure a loved one receives the care they need following a planned surgery, or when recovering from an illness or injury.  

Respite care can also provide partners and families with the opportunity to take a much-needed break from their caring role.

Harden Grange respite guests enjoy a private suite with their own ensuite, country-style meals, housekeeping and laundry service.  Guests can also join our lifestyle program, visit the on-site hairdressing salon and café, and receive pastoral support.

All residents receive personalised, around-the-clock care from a team of Registered Nurses and Carers.

And with the Government subsidising a component of the daily charge for eligible guests, respite can be surprisingly affordable.

To find out more about respite care at Harden Grange, including funding options, call our friendly team on (02) 5330 8000. We can answer your questions and guide you through every step of the process.

Supporting locals living with dementia

Harden Grange Aged Care Community’s newly opened dementia support household is now welcoming residents with advanced memory care needs.

Complete with a traditional colour scheme, new window coverings and carefully selected antique furniture and homely decorations, this household offers residents a range of calming spaces.

For Harden local Don Armitstead, the opening of this household has made a world of difference to him and his wife, Margaret.

“My darling wife is living with dementia. Before Harden Grange opened, she resided in the closest aged care community that’s over 60km away. Now, she’s been able to return to the familiar surroundings of Harden. She’s back where she belongs,” said Don.

Harden’s Community Manager, Kylie Hayter, says that the Care Team takes a resident-first approach to caring for residents with advanced memory support needs.

“Our care philosophy centres on getting to know each resident so that we can support them to live their best life, whatever that means to them,” Ms Hayter said.

“We support residents to remain as independent as possible, living a life of dignity where they are respected as valued individuals.”

Since moving to Harden Grange, Don has noticed that Margaret’s seems much more calm and content.

“I’d often travel 60km to the other aged care community only to find her unsettled and unreceptive to my visit. This was very difficult and distressing to see,” Don explained.

“Now, she is so much more at ease in this community. The vintage lounge room in the memory support unit is just lovely. It’s a cosy place to sit and there’s antique furniture, a fireplace and a glass display cabinet just like you’d find at home. Margaret finds it a very calming space.”

“We also spend a lot of time in the outdoor spaces, tending to the flowers and plants, or just sitting in the sun.”

“I know she’s very well cared for at Harden Grange and this provides me with peace of mind,” Don said.

“If anyone is thinking about a move to this community, I would encourage them to do so without a second thought!”

Harden Grange welcoming locals back home

Older Hilltops locals in need of quality aged care are finally able to return back to the region, following the opening of Harden Grange Aged Care Community earlier this year.

Now operated by national provider, Apollo Care, Harden Grange reinstates a much-needed service to the local area, and eleven residents now call this community home.

According to Kylie Radburn, Apollo Care Chief Governance Officer and Chairperson of HRDC Community Limited, the not-for-profit entity that operates Harden Grange, admitting locals in need of care has been the priority.

“We know that the Hilltops Region is a proud local community, and it’s lovely to see how happy it’s made residents to be cared for in their home town of Harden,” said Ms Radburn.

“We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from the community, reinforcing just how important the reopening of this service is to the Hilltops Region.”

Ms Radburn said that careful consideration went into the refurbishment process at Harden to create a true sense of home.

“We introduced a classic, residential-inspired interior design scheme, using heritage colours, the addition of fireplaces in sitting rooms, VJ panelling, and warm pendant lighting,” Ms Radburn explained.

“These very deliberate design decisions have transformed the original facility into a homely community that reflects the character of this historic town.

“More than 80 locals attended our first Community Open Day that was held just before opening the doors to residents. We had glowing feedback from everyone, and they especially loved the central cafe and sitting area with the beautiful stone fireplace.”

Other features at Harden Grange include a private resident lounge, a hairdressing salon, a large activity room, internal courtyards with seating and raised garden beds, an outdoor terrace area, and an on-site Chapel.

The next stage of refurbishments is already underway by Apollo Care. Once complete, Harden will be able to care for 45 residents, all in private suites with their own ensuites.

As part of the Apollo Care Alliance, Harden Grange will benefit from industry-leading care governance, the latest care technology, an award-winning culture program, and a continued emphasis on quality care, kindness and dignity.

5 steps to placing your loved one in aged care

Residential aged care is designed to support seniors who reach a stage when they can no longer live independently at home. For some, this may happen gradually over time, while for others it may happen suddenly due to an accident or illness. Often, the best way to receive consistent support is to live in a residential aged care community.  

If you think it might be time to consider aged care for your loved one, we’re here to support you.  

It’s helpful to gain an understanding of how entry into aged care works, what support will be provided to your loved one, and how much it will cost. Here are the 5 steps to get started. You can also find other helpful resources on our website. 

Step 1: Get an Aged Care Assessment 

To find out if your loved one is eligible for permanent or respite aged care, arrange an assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). You can book an appointment through My Aged Care (visit or call 1800 200 422). Hospitals and doctors can also provide a referral. 

Step 2: Understanding the costs 

Read our simple guide to aged care fees in our Aged Care Guide. To estimate the amount your loved one may be asked to pay towards their care, visit, search for ‘Fee Estimator’ and complete the form. You can also seek advice from a Financial Planner. 

Step 3: Take a tour 

Prepare a shortlist of suitable aged care communities and tour them to compare.  

Step 4: Apply to your preferred aged care community 

Arrange a meeting with a Care Leader at your preferred community. To apply for a residential aged care position, you’ll need to bring documents including a current ACAT, an income and assets form, and Power of Attorney instructions. Our Admissions Team can help you with the application process. 

Step 5: Complete a Resident Agreement 

Once your loved one has been offered a place in a community and wishes to accept it, a Resident Agreement will need to be signed before they move in. 

If you have a question or need assistance with any of these steps, contact our friendly Admissions Team.