Leading South Australian not-for-profit aged care provider ACH Group is celebrating its 70th birthday in 2022. ACH Group, or as it was initially known Aged Cottage Homes, was founded in 1952 by Sir Keith Wilson, a former Senator for South Australia, and Federal Member for Sturt.
ACH Group CEO Frank Weits said throughout the seven decades the organisation has been proud to positively impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of South Australians.
“For 70 years ACH Group has supported older people to live and age well, acted as passionate advocates in challenging ageist stereotypes, and helped shape Australia’s aged care sector,” he said.
“Following in the footsteps of our founder Sir Keith Wilson, who was a trailblazer in supporting older people, ACH Group continues to be at the forefront of innovation contributing to current aged care reform and reimaging services to provide better health and wellbeing outcomes for residents and customers.”
Identifying the need for low rent home options for older people, Sir Keith championed the campaign to raise funds to build housing for older couples, with the first completed in Payneham in Adelaide’s east in 1954.
Then-Prime Minister Robert Menzies became interested in Sir Keith’s efforts as the government insisted it was preferable to have these homes built and managed by religious or philanthropic organisations rather than by government. Sir Keith’s work inspired the creation of the Aged Persons Homes Act 1954, which provided grants toward the capital of building the homes.
Evolving from the initial focus on housing, ACH Group is now one South Australia’s largest not-for-profit organisations with eight residential care homes and 700 retirement living units located across metropolitan Adelaide and the Fleurieu Peninsula. While in the community ACH Group offers a range of help at home, health, wellbeing, respite, and NDIS services, and social experiences.
In 2022, ACH Group employs more than 2000 staff and supports over 20,000 older South Australians.
“Our caring and committed workforce is integral to ACH Group. I pay tribute to and thank our current and previous staff and volunteers dedicated to supporting older people to live good lives,” Mr Weits said.
Looking to the future, Mr Weits detailed a series of developments for the aged care provider including construction of Healthia, a $40 million health and education hub in Adelaide’s northern community featuring a state-of-the-art residential care home.
“Healthia, which encompasses a powerful partnership with UniSA, City of Playford and the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network, will improve the health and lifestyle outcomes for Adelaide’s northern community and reimagine residential aged care,” he said.
Furthermore, ACH Group will expand its health and wellness offering in the community with a new $4.5 million Health Studio 50+ to be built in Rostrevor.
Healthia is due to open in mid-2023, while Health Studio 50+ Rostrevor is currently scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023.
A series of celebrations will be held with staff, volunteers, customers, and residents to mark ACH Group’s 70th birthday.