Seniors with 'lung complaints' sent to city

ROY and Valerie Jones don't believe Gladstone has the facilities to deal with the number of seniors currently living in the region - let alone the expected 11,944 more in 2036.

Roy is president and Valerie is a member of National Seniors Association Gladstone Branch and they said travelling to and from Brisbane for medical support, a lack of respite and aged care facilities were issues for seniors.

The Gladstone Observer today reveals Gladstone seniors do have issues to be concerned about as they are poorer and more isolated than those in Brisbane, and the population is getting older fast.

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Retirees Valerie and Roy Jones don't believe Gladstone has the facilities to deal with many more seniors. Photo Campbell Gellie / The Observer
Retirees Valerie and Roy Jones don't believe Gladstone has the facilities to deal with many more seniors. Photo Campbell Gellie / The Observer Campbell Gellie

Already 12.3% of residents are aged 65 or over, and that figure will reach 16.2% by 2036, with 11,944 more seniors calling the region home.

We are demanding the Federal Government fixes the unfair imbalance that leaves our seniors isolated, more destitute and with health-care access that is inferior to what is available in the city.

Mr Jones said respite care was at a premium in Gladstone.

"New Auckland Place and Bindaree have respite care but once a room is free it is filled quickly," he said.

"We've lost 40 rooms from Hibiscus Gardens since that closed, and some people have been forced to move out to Biloela, Monto and even Gympie."

Department of Human Services data reveals 67.1% of Gladstone residents over the age of 65 receive an age pension, compared to 63.3% in Brisbane.

Roy wanted the Federal Government, not-for-profits, commercial companies, basically anyone to fund the mooted Phillip St Precinct after previous attempts to fund it from Gladstone have failed.

"We need a three level care facility in Gladstone if we're going to deal with more seniors living here," he said.

By 2036, Gladstone is projected to be home to 2379 people over the age of 85, which would stretch the health system according to Valerie.

"My generation that was born here are having lots of lung complaints," she said.

"The coal used to come into town on trucks and now talking to friends every body tells you they are going to Brisbane to see Dr Kim.

"He is my lung doctor and Roy's lung doctor. I've never smoked or drunk and I've now got lung complaints."

Valerie was concerned about widows having to make the trip down to Brisbane by themselves.

"They get a train to Brisbane and a taxi to a motel," she said.

"I'd hate to go on my own."

Council on the Ageing Queensland chief executive officer Mark Tucker-Evans said all tiers of government must co-operate to develop public transport solutions.

"Taxis are often unavailable for people in remote areas, or too expensive for someone on a pension to afford," he said.

"Often, the only solution is for them to abandon their properties, and they very rarely get anywhere near a return on their investment."

But Roy and Valerie won't be going anywhere. Roy has one daughter here to a previous marriage and Valerie has three children, seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.



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