Better Than Any Motel — Fifty years of Cooinda

Work in progress: This is the working title for a history of the not-for-profit Cooinda Elderly Peoples’ Village in Benalla. And there’s a lot more going on than just a bit of afternoon tea and bingo.

While this project is in its early stages, it offers an opportunity to explore many themes including fifty years of changing cultural attitudes and practices in aged care; changing gender roles in aged care work and management; and community goodwill and volunteerism — particularly as a mark of citizenship and as a source of social cohesion.

The project has been greatly aided by the substantial archival records held by Cooinda, and by the people available to offer oral accounts of how this community-based not-for-profit organisation had achieved so much.

Early findings from initial oral history interview reveal huge changes in the aged care environment since the year 2000, in terms of: accreditation of facilities, ‘ageing in place’ philosophies, expectations for the financial viability of organisations, changes in the level and standards of nursing and palliative care, evolving drug regimes and nutritional regimes for clients, advances in the management of dementia and ‘difficult behaviours’, advances in disease control procedures, developments in safety equipment and procedures for clients, and concomitant changes in architectural and building standards.