Help in fight for dignity
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.
LIFE-CHANGING: MS sufferer Robbie Carr with his mum and full-time carer, Heather Roman.