Age-friendly strat­egy on the agenda

Pilbara News - - News - Alicia Per­era

A plan to make the Pil­bara more “age friendly” is be­ing can­vassed across the re­gion’s lo­cal gov­ern­ments by the Pil­bara Re­gional Coun­cil.

The PRC’s Re­gional Age­ing Strat­egy project is ex­plor­ing ser­vice and fund­ing op­tions for mak­ing the youth-dom­i­nated Pil­bara, which many seniors leave upon re­tire­ment, a more at­trac­tive place for seniors to live.

The project is based on a 2014 Depart­ment of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and Com­mu­ni­ties re­port that looks at the state of aged care across WA in ac­cor­dance with age-friendly guide­lines iden­ti­fied by the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Pil­bara Re­gional Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Tony Fri­day said the chal­lenges to im­prov­ing aged care were dif­fer­ent in the Pil­bara than in most parts of the State, as a low ra­tio of seniors and high rates of leav­ing upon re­tire­ment meant they needed to fo­cus on at­trac­tion and re­ten­tion in­stead of just ex­plor­ing ser­vices.

“We don’t nec­es­sar­ily have an ex­pec­ta­tion from our cur­rent seniors that they’re gong to stay there, to ex­pect that to con­tinue to be home,” he said. “Oth­ers, even be­fore they’ve re­tired, they’re al­ready look­ing be­yond the Pil­bara, be­cause there’s some­thing that’s not there that they need.”

“We have to sit down with lo­cal gov­ern­ments and fig­ure out if is it a gap we can ac­tu­ally close.”

Mr Fri­day said the PRC would con­sult se­nior Pil­bara res­i­dents and tourists to gain “some good solid em­pir­i­cal data” on the gaps be­tween what is avail­able and what is needed for the re­gion to be more age-friendly.

Kar­ratha Au­tumn Club pres­i­dent Alan Green and trea­surer Kathy Green said while they loved liv­ing in Kar­ratha, there was a lack of op­tions for seniors.

Mr Green said the main chal­lenges were a lack of pub­lic trans­port, cul­tural draw­cards such as the­atres and cin­e­mas, tar­geted com­mu­nity events for seniors and re­tire­ment and aged care ac­com­mo­da­tion. The PRC is in­tend­ing to ap­ply for a DLGC Age-Friendly Com­mu­ni­ties grant if the project re­ceives re­gional lo­cal gov­ern­ment sup­port.

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