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.

When to use respite care for your loved one

Respite care in a residential aged care community can be a safe, short-term solution for families or partners caring for an elderly loved one. At Harden Grange, we care for respite guests with low care, high care and memory care needs. Guests can join us for a week or two at a time, or longer if needed.

The Australian Government subsidises the cost of respite care for eligible residents for up to 63 days in a financial year, making this an affordable option for families.

Respite guests receive expert care 24/7, and access the same support, lifestyle program, and meal service as permanent residents.

Here are some of the times when respite care can provide you with the trusted support you and your loved one need:

1. When you need a break from your carer role

Relax and recharge with peace of mind that your loved one will enjoy companionship and personalised care.

2. Following a hospital stay

Your loved can recuperate and recover with expert 24/7 care and all meals and housekeeping provided.

3. When you’re on holiday

Head away on a holiday knowing your loved one will be looked after with tailored support in a vibrant and welcoming environment.

4. When they need emergency care

Respite is an ideal option if your loved one has had an accident, injury or illness, and they need dedicated, ‘round-the-clock care in a hurry.

5. To trial what living in one of our communities is like

Your loved one can experience what it’s like to live at Harden Grange before considering a more permanent move.

Respite guests enjoy all the support and services that permanent residents access, including:

  • 24/7 tailored care from our dedicated team of Carers and on-site Nurses
  • A private, light-filled suite with plenty of space for personal belongings
  • A full, country-style meal service (including morning and afternoon tea), plus all-day access to snacks and drinks. Respite guests can choose when and where they enjoy their meals.
  • Daily housekeeping, laundry and room service
  • Access to our full activity schedule, indoor and outdoor shared spaces and on-site hairdressing salon
  • Pastoral support and on-site Church services

To find out more about respite care, download our Respite Guide, or contact our friendly admissions team by calling (02) 5330 8000 or emailing

Our favourite Gingerbread recipe – with a twist

Who doesn’t love yummy little Gingerbread men at Christmas time? This is our Head Chef’s favourite Gingerbread recipe that Apollo Care residents and visitors will be enjoying in each of our communities this festive season.

For something different, we love pairing these Gingerbreads with a French-inspired syrup. It’s delicious drizzled over the biscuits and definitely adds a fancy touch to this Christmas classic.

Here’s the recipe so you can try at home:

Gingerbread (makes 24)


580g plain flour

3 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp salt

175g softened butter

175g caster sugar

2 eggs

2 tbsp orange juice

1/2 cup molasses

Sugar to dust


1. Cream butter and sugar together.

2. Combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

3. Add eggs, orange juice and molasses to the creamed butter and sugar mixture.

4. Slowly add the dry mixture and stir until it comes together as a dough.

5. Roll the mixture on a floured bench with a rolling pin to a consistent thickness of approx. 0.5cm.

6. Use a cookie cutter to make gingerbread-shaped biscuits and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper, then dust with sugar.

7. Bake at 175 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden.

8. Cool completely on a wire rack before decorating with piped icing

Pain D’Epice Syrup


125g Sugar

500ml water

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground ginger

1 star anise

1 cardamom pod

Small pinch ground cloves

Small pinch ground nutmeg


1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.

2. Keep simmering until syrup has reduced to desired consistency, then remove star anise and cardamon pod from the mixture.

3. Allow to cool and then serve syrup as a drizzle or dipping sauce with the Gingerbreads.

Meet Ian, our new Maintenance Officer

“I love keeping Harden Grange beautiful so residents enjoy living happily and safely in their community.” 

Ian has lived in the Hilltops Region for the past 20 years and is an experienced professional in maintenance and facilities management. His previous roles have seen him predominantly work away from home through the week in either Sydney or Canberra. He is delighted to join the Harden Grange team so that he can work close to home and provide a valued service for his local community. 

As Maintenance Officer, Ian is responsible for keeping Harden Grange maintained to the highest standards. His role encompasses the upkeep of all buildings, plant and equipment, as well as grounds and garden maintenance.  

A firm believer that feeling at home is important to everyone, Ian’s focus is on making sure residents are comfortable in their indoor and outdoor spaces. He looks forward to getting to know the people who will call Harden Grange home, and making a positive difference to their lives. 

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

Understanding the costs of residential aged care

Our community 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.     

In this article we explain the two areas of aged care costs: the cost to enter aged care (called a ‘refundable accommodation payment’ or RAD) and the on-going daily fees.     

Before you read on there are 4 things you should know:     

  1. Our Admissions Team is here to help and support you through this journey. We understand it can be stressful. Please call us with any questions.   
  1. Our community operates under the Aged Care Act which regulates the costs of living in residential aged care. Our cost structure is simple, transparent, and consistent with the fees and charges of all other aged care communities in Australia.   
  1. The Government provides assistance to aged care residents who cannot afford to pay for their own care. The exact amount of support your loved one may be eligible for will be based on their income and assets as determined by Services Australia.   
  1. Residential aged care has no hidden costs or exit fees when a resident leaves. Apart from the costs outlined on the following page, residents are only required to pay for their personal items and expenses such as medication, medical and allied health appointments, clothing, personal care items and hairdressing.  

Cost 1: Accommodation payment 

Residents contribute towards their accommodation and daily care through a schedule of accommodation and care payments outlined below. A resident’s aged care suite is secured through an accommodation payment that is fully refundable and Government guaranteed.  

There are 4 payment options you can choose from:  

Option 1:  Fully refundable accommodation deposit (RAD) 

This is a once-off lump sum payment that is refunded in full when the resident leaves. There are no exit fees deducted from this deposit.  

Option 2: Daily accommodation payment (DAP)  

You can choose not to pay an upfront RAD and pay an interest charge each month instead. This fee is calculated daily based on the amount of the unpaid RAD. The interest rate used to calculate a Daily Accommodation Payment is called the Maximum Permissible Interest Rate (MPIR). This is set by the Government and reviewed quarterly. These payments are not refundable.  

Option 3:  A combination of RAD and DAP  

Residents can choose to pay a combination of a part RAD and part DAP, for example, a deposit (RAD) and a daily payment (DAP) on the unpaid amount. Only the RAD lump sum deposit is refundable when the resident leaves. 

Option 4: Government supplement  

The Government may provide assistance to cover the cost of your accommodation payment based on an income and assets assessment that will determine if you qualify for full Government support, or will be required to contribute towards your accommodation in one of 3 options: 

  • A refundable accommodation contribution (similar to a RAD but capped at the lump sum equivalent of Government supplement rates) 
  • A daily accommodation contribution (similar to a DAP but capped at Government supplement rates) 
  • A combination of a RAC and DAC of your choosing 

Cost 2: Set Daily Care Fees  

A basic daily care fee  

This fee is paid by all residents to cover living expenses such as meals, laundry, personal and nursing care and electricity. This fee is set by the Government and is standard in every Australian aged care facility. It is currently set at 85% of the pension and is adjusted each March and September in line with changes to the Age Pension.   

A means-tested daily care fee (MTCF) 

This is an additional contribution towards the cost of a resident’s daily care. The amount of this fee is determined by a resident’s income and assets assessment.  It is reviewed quarterly and may vary over time if a resident’s income, assets or cost of care change. There are annual and lifetime caps that apply to the MTCF.  

To estimate the amount your loved one may be asked to pay towards their care, visit, use their ‘fee estimator’ and complete the form. Some families also seek advice from a Financial Planner. 

For more information, download our Aged Care Guide. 

4 tips to start the conversation about aged care 

Bringing up the topic of residential aged care with your elderly parents can be one we’d rather avoid. It’s natural to want your aging parents to continue living in their own home for as long as possible. But, if you’ve noticed a change in their mobility lately, or that they’re starting to find everyday tasks a bit more challenging, a move into an aged care community might be a safer option for them. 

So, what’s the best way to raise the subject? Here are four tips to help you start a positive conversation about aged care: 

1. Do some research first. 

Before you raise the topic, find out about residential aged care communities in their local area. Contact them to take a tour and compile a list of what you liked or disliked about each one.  

2. Pick the best moment and location. 

Choose a time when you won’t be interrupted and when your loved one seems receptive and calm. The setting is also important – choose somewhere private and on neutral ground so they don’t feel ambushed. Consider options such as a scenic car drive or a quiet park bench with a view. 

3. Choose your language carefully. 

Rather than leading with an emotional statement like, ‘I don’t think it’s safe for you to live at home anymore’, try something that conveys you’re in this together. A softer question, such as ‘If you’re starting to find daily tasks a bit harder, what other options could we investigate?’ might be better received. Ask them how they feel about their future, listen without interrupting and keep looking at things from their perspective. 

4. Be prepared for an emotional response or a shut down. 

Your elderly parent might feel scared or even shocked at the prospect of leaving their own home. They might resist talking about it altogether, or respond with negativity. Remind them how much you want them to live their best life possible, and that talking through options together is a way of forward planning to keep them safe and healthy. If you feel the conversation isn’t going well, consider trying again another time, or even engaging help from their GP or health practitioner. 

If you’re ready to start looking at aged care options for your parent, contact our friendly Admissions Team.

New future secured for aged care in Harden

St Lawrence Residential Aged Care in Harden, formerly run by Southern Cross Care (NSW & ACT), is set to reopen late this year as Harden Grange.

The 45-bed community, which closed in February last year, will now be recommissioned with plans to open in late 2022.

Southern Cross Care’s CEO, Helen Emmerson said Southern Cross Care had worked to facilitate the sale to a provider who can serve the region’s aged care needs.

“We are very happy to be able to transfer this facility to a new community-backed organisation. I wish the Apollo Care Alliance all the very best,” Ms Emmerson said.

The Harden Regional Development Corporation (HRDC) has been a key driver in facilitating the reopening.

Harden Grange will be operated by a new local not-for-profit group, HRDC Community Limited, founded by the Kruger Trust and national approved aged care provider Apollo Care.

Apollo Care’s CEO, Stephen Becsi OAM, said Apollo Care was formed to revitalise a segment of the aged care market that is at high risk of extinction: smaller not-for-profits.

“These smaller providers play an essential role in delivering choice to older Australians who want to remain connected to their local community.  This is especially important in regional communities, like Harden,” he said.

“We bring our highly experienced team of industry leaders, the latest technology, best-practice care governance and an award-winning staff culture program to Harden Grange.  We look forward to Harden Grange supporting local residents and their families by providing quality aged care services to the whole community.

“Apollo Care’s operating model allows smaller aged care communities to thrive in a very challenging operating environment.”

HRDC Deputy Chairperson, Samantha Flannery, thanked The Kruger Trust for investing in an equity stake to facilitate the reopening.  

“We look forward to seeing Harden Grange become a strong and valued community residential aged care service.  Providing our ageing demographic with a place to call home plus more jobs for locals will be a much-needed boost for our twin towns and the broader Hilltops Region,” she said.

A team from Apollo Care will visit Harden to meet with the local community and answer questions. 

This community event will be held at the Mechanics Institute in Harden on Monday 17 October 2022 from 2.00pm to 6.30pm and on Tuesday 18 October from 7.30am to 11am.

In attendance will be:

Stephen Becsi, OAM –  Apollo Care CEO

Kylie Radburn – Chairperson of the Harden Grange Board and Apollo Care Chief Governance Officer

Gabby Maresca – Apollo Care Recruitment

David Arguelles – Apollo Care Project Management, Asset Management and Procurement

CEO Mr Becsi said that Apollo Care is committed to keeping Harden Grange focused on local aged care needs.

“We look forward to talking with families and prospective residents, and anyone interested in job opportunities. We are also interested in meeting with local suppliers and contractors who can help us with preparations for the reopening of Harden Grange.” he said.