Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Getting old in Regional Australia

As she got older, my mother used to say "It's getting draughty, dear." By this she simply meant that many people she knew were dieing.

I know that we do want to think about getting old, about old people's homes, about incapacity, but these are issues that need to be addressed.

In many ways Regional Australia is kinder to its old than the metro cities.

Shorter distances and less traffic make it easier to get out, for friends and family to visit. The isolation that can be experienced in metro nursing homes is less common, as are the scandals associated with poor care simply because it is easier for the community to see what is going on. Costs are also lower largely because base real estate prices are less.

All this said, there are parts of Regional Australia were aged care facilities are poor. This can be especially so in fast growing coastal retirement areas where population growth has out run facilities. In the New England seaside town of South West Rocks, for example, there are no aged care facilities with 175 people expected to need residential care over the next twelve months. This means that they have to relocate to the nearby town of Kempsey.

Neither distance nor travel times are great by metro standards, but this still creates real problems for South West Rocks people who need to visit older relatives in Kempsey by limited public transport.

I mention all this because the availability of aged care is another issue that needs to be considered by older Australians wishing to relocate to Regional Australia.

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