Trugo Place: Q&A with Carmel and Tamara

Trugo Place is a stunning new Japara Aged Care Home located at 120 Mason Street, Newport, Victoria. It has 120 single rooms, each with a private ensuite, and was built to replace Yarra West. We are pleased to announce that it will open in early 2021. We interviewed Carmel Hrestak and Tamara Azzopardi, Home Manager and Admissions Coordinator at Japara Trugo Place to find out more about their experience, passion and what they are looking forward to most about working at Japara’s brand, new home.


What has your career path been?

Carmel: I worked as an Aged Care Personal carer for 18 years before deciding to attain a Nursing Degree to become a Registered Nurse. I then transitioned to Clinical Care Coordinator and finally to my current position as Home Manager.

Tamara: I began my career in business insurance and in 2011, by chance, was referred to a position that had become available doing administration at Japara Yarra West. I’ve been there for nearly 10 years and am excited to progress to my new role at Trugo Place.


Why did you decide to work in Aged Care?

Carmel: I came to Australia at a young age and left behind all my family in Italy, which meant I never met my grandparents. Working in aged care from the age of 18 gave me an insight to the care and respect for my elders. I strive to make a real difference to the lifestyle of each individual person and to ensure individualised acknowledgement and respect.

Tamara: Thanks to my mum, who is a nurse, I grew up around aged care. I used to go into work with her after school and on weekends from as far back as I can remember. I always loved sitting with the residents and hearing their stories, they had accomplished so much and done so many amazing things. I remember watching their eyes light up when they would reminisce on their lives, which was truly beautiful. It really is a privilege to play even a small role in their lives.

Carmel and Tamara - staff at Trugo Place
Left to right: Carmel, Home Manager and Tamara, Admissions Coordinator

What are you looking forward to most about working at Trugo Place?

Carmel: I’m excited for the opportunity to create a new environment with exceptional care and lifestyle choices for existing and future residents.

Tamara: Walking through Trugo Place, you get that sense of community. All the amenities you would enjoy while out and about are available at Trugo Place, from a hair and nail salon to our very own men’s shed, café and gym. There really is something for everyone to enjoy! Having the ability to provide our residents with a beautiful new home, while still maintaining the lovely home-like feel and caring staff that we are known for, is wonderful.


Which characteristics make you a good fit for your new role?

Carmel: I believe I am honest, respectful and have extensive knowledge in the Aged Care sector.

Tamara: I’m a people person and love spending time with the residents and their families. Having been through the aged care process with my own family, I feel I can relate to families going through this and understand it isn’t an easy decision to make. I am passionate about aged care and improving the lives of our elderly community. After all, they have spent their lives raising us, it’s our turn to take care of them.


What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Carmel: I love spending time with my family, grandchildren and friends!

Tamara: I enjoy spending time with friends and family. We have 3 children – Blaine 13, Lilly 8 and Kevin 2 – so there is always something happening. We love going on weekend trips away so it’s exciting that we can do this again with the easing of restrictions.


Tell us something fun or interesting about yourself.

Carmel: I came from a large family of 11 children and was made to leave school at the young age of 12 to work and help support the family. I always wanted to be a Nurse to help people and was immensely proud to accomplish a Nursing Degree as a mature entry with Honours.

Tamara: I’ve always been a huge animal lover and grew up on a farm in rural Victoria with dogs, cats, chickens, pigs, cows, a bull and even an echidna that lived under our front porch! These days, I have 2 dogs – Copper (a Siberian Husky) and Lucy (a French Bulldog) – and 2 cockatiels, Charlie and George. Copper is well known at Yarra West, as he has made several appearances in our pet therapy program! Each August, Copper and I participate in Pawgust raising funds to support Guide Dogs Australia.

Enquire today

Trugo Place will be opening to new residents in February 2021. If you or your loved one would like to register your interest, book a tour, or have a question for our team, get in touch with us today  on 1800 52 72 72 or via our Contact Form.

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