North West plans for aged care future
A strategy for developing the aged care sector in the North West and retaining more seniors in communities has been launched.
In Karratha, Regional Development Australia — Pilbara last week presented the North West Ageing and Aged Care Strategy which examines the gaps in local senior services and recommends how they can be filled.
“Low population density and remote locations pose significant barriers to most ageing and aged care options,” the strategy read.
“Most North West residents . . . not only have to leave their homes, but indeed their community, country and region if they wish . . . to access many aged care services.”
The main recommendations were for North West communities to develop more age-friendly atmospheres and improve infrastructure with more affordable housing, community/ home-based services and aged care.
RDA Pilbara chief executive Diane Pentz said the group had been motivated to develop the strategy after hearing a presentation from aged care provider East Pilbara Independence Support about the lack of culturally appropriate aged care facilities.
“The stories that we heard broke our hearts,” she said.
“People are not ageing with dignity, they are not ageing well, they’re ageing in extremely difficult circumstances, particularly in our remote communities, and the question we asked ourselves is if it wasn’t good enough for our parents, why would we turn a blind eye to others who are ageing in extremely difficult circumstances? We have to change the scenario for people who’ve had a tough life and are really ageing under awful circumstances.”
The strategy was developed by RDA’s Pilbara and Kimberley branches working in partnership, with Lotterywest support.
Consultation involved more than 350 North West residents, carers, service providers and other stakeholders in a process led by WA Senior Australian of the Year Peter Kenyon.
Federal Aged Care and Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt officially launched the strategy last Tuesday before visiting senior residents in Roebourne and Cheeditha.
““As mining diminishes we have to think about the future of what is needed in this region because there are people who . . . love the region and they don’t want to leave,” he said.
RDA Pilbara’s Diane Pentz and chair Fiona White-Hartig with Ken Wyatt.