Help in fight for dig­nity

The Queensland Times - - NEWS - My­janne Jensen My­janne.Jensen@qt.com.au

IMAG­INE work­ing on an aged care fa­cil­ity in per­fect health one day, then find­ing out the next day you are at risk of be­ing con­fined to an aged care fa­cil­ity for the rest of your life.

That was the re­al­ity for Mul­ti­ple Scle­ro­sis suf­ferer Rob­bie Carr, who was di­ag­nosed with the con­di­tion in 2007.

In an ironic turn of events the then-28 year-old had been work­ing on an aged care fa­cil­ity project as a builder when his life and the life of his fam­ily was dra­mat­i­cally turned on its head.

“I was a healthy and fit young car­pen­ter and spent most of my work­ing life build­ing homes for the el­derly and peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties,” he said.

“After I was di­ag­nosed our whole fam­ily left our house in Bris­bane as it was un­suit­able for my chang­ing needs and even my sis­ter and her three chil­dren moved in so they could share car­ing for me.”

Rob­bie’s mum Heather Ro­man said the ex­pe­ri­ence had changed the way her fam­ily saw life and just wanted for her son to be able to live a com­fort­able life in ac­com­mo­da­tion that suited his needs.

“If there’s one thing I have al­ways fought for, it is Rob­bie’s dig­nity,” she said.

“What Rob­bie re­ally wants is a home of his own where he can ask for help with­out the guilt of ask­ing me or his sis­ter to sup­port him.”

Such is the case for many MS suf­fer­ers around Queens­land which has prompted MS Queens­land to come up Project Dig­nity 120, a spe­cial­ist dis­abil­ity ac­com­mo­da­tion project which will see 120 new high-need in­de­pen­dent liv­ing apart­ments across 10 lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing re­gional com­mu­ni­ties, de­vel­oped over the next 10 years.

The first apart­ment build­ing for the project topped off its first block at Spring­field this week and MS Queens­land CEO Lin­coln Hop­per said the mile­stone marked the start of a pos­i­tive fu­ture for many MS suf­fer­ers.

“Sadly we’re in the grip of a hous­ing cri­sis, so if you have a dis­abil­ity and you need this type of hous­ing, there’s sim­ply not enough avail­able so we’ve got peo­ple ask­ing us to build this as fast as we can and our mis­sion to build 120 is re­ally a re­sponse to that,” Mr Hop­per said.

“Last count there were just un­der 1300 peo­ple aged un­der 65 liv­ing in res­i­den­tial aged care, so if that’s a sym­bol of the size of the prob­lem we’re tak­ing a step into the fu­ture and do­ing that for 120 peo­ple at least.”

Kane Con­struc­tion Queens­land are the com­pany re­spon­si­ble for build­ing the site and Queens­land di­rec­tor David Rut­ter said it was an hon­our for he and his staff to be in­volved in help­ing build a pos­i­tive fu­ture for those in need.

“We’re an in­sti­tu­tional builder so do a range of build­ings for health and gov­ern­ment, so this is right up our al­ley,” Mr Rut­ter said.

Spring­field Land Cor­po­ra­tion CEO for CBD de­vel­op­ment David Henry said the new build­ing was a sig­nif­i­cant step to­wards build­ing Spring­field’s Health City precinct and pro­vid­ing more jobs for the re­gion.

“It’s the start of spe­cial­ist hous­ing based around Health City, so MS and a whole lot peo­ple through the NDIS scheme, par­tic­u­larly in Queens­land, there’s a huge short­age of suit­able ac­com­mo­da­tion for peo­ple with those sorts of life threat­en­ing is­sues,” Mr Henry said. Project Dig­nity 120 Spring­field is lo­cated at 14 Well­ness Way, Spring­field and is es­ti­mated to fin­ished by April 2018.

PHOTO: NATASCHA SCHWARTZ

LIFE-CHANG­ING: MS suf­ferer Rob­bie Carr with his mum and full-time carer, Heather Ro­man.

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