The 'serious challenge' facing older people in Kyogle LGA
THE FIRST step to providing better care services for Woodenbong's older community was paved at last night's Kyogle Council meeting.
Councillors heeded Cr Lindsay Passfield's call to get behind the Woodenbong Progress Association's initiative to become an accredited aged care service provider through the Department of Health, by supporting their application for 'start-up costs' of $50,000 to get the home care organisation off the ground.
The WPA Home Care Proposal submitted to council stated the association intended to deliver a range of services to meet the changing care needs of the community.
It would also provide aged care services to older people close to home and within their community; improve access to aged care services for older people; improve the quality of appropriate aged care services for older people; and develop cost-effective and co-ordinated services that complement existing mainstream programs.
The proposal included findings from a report carried out for the Kyogle Council by Cartwright Consulting Australia in August 2015: Analysis of the need for Aged Care, Disability Services and Respite Care in the Kyogle Council Local Government Area.
The report found it was projected the majority of the Northern Rivers population will be aged between 50 and 90 years in 2027 compared to a majority of people aged between 20 and 45 years of age for NSW as a whole.
It means the community will be "seriously challenged" to meet the demand for services and places in residential aged care facilities.
In the Kyogle LGA, residential aged care places are well below the recommended number - they are only just meeting the demand but will be severely stretched unless additional places become available in the next five to 10 years.
However, aged care in the home and disability services are already inadequate.
Cr Passfield said having an efficient home care service for the older Woodenbong community was vital.
"The care packages for the Northern Rivers region are picked up by agencies that deliver them and if most of those agencies are based in Casino, Lismore or even Kyogle, to deliver a service to Woodenbong or Bonalbo, then most of the three hour home care service is considered travel," Cr Passfield said.
"If the service is managed in the local area and the staff live in the local area, the whole package can benefit the care receiver - instead of being consumed in travel, it can be more efficiently delivered."
Kyogle Mayor Danielle Mulholland said she and Cr Passfield met with members of the WPA to discuss this issue.
"The motion was to provide Council with a position to advocate on their behalf," she said.