North West plans for aged care fu­ture

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

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.

Pic­ture: Ali­cia Per­era

RDA Pil­bara’s Diane Pentz and chair Fiona White-Har­tig with Ken Wy­att.

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