Rachel Fieldhouse

Retirement Life

Aged care residents given 10 weeks to find a new home

Aged care residents given 10 weeks to find a new home

Older Australians living in aged care have been forced out of their homes, after it was decided that the only facility in their small town would be shut down.

A Current Affair reported that the owners of Anglian Care, the only facility in the northern NSW town of Bulahdelah, gave families of residents ten weeks to find their loved ones a new place to live.

The decision has angered the community, with local resident Rod telling the program that losing “40 staff” and “40 local jobs in a small community” will be devastating.

Norma Hughes, a resident of the Cedar Wharf Lodge, told A Current Affair that she never imagined she would be asked to leave on the eve of her 90th birthday.

“I was going to finish my days here but that’s not happening anymore,” she said.

Her son Neil and daughter-in-law Lyn were also angered by the situation.

“The staff found out that day, I think I was the only one there that wasn’t in tears, they were all crying going ‘damn, what’s going on?’” Neil said.

“It was pretty sad for them; for everybody in a sense.”

Bob, another resident, passed away at the age of 99 shortly after his family was interviewed by A Current Affair

His son-in-law, Kevin Carter, said the stress of being evicted was a heavy weight for him in his final days.

“Ninety-nine is a lot of age and how do you accommodate meeting the new nurse and staff? It’s quite frightening,” Mr Carter said.

Bulahdelah’s nursing home has been in operation since 1991, and the decision to close its doors came after the church reviewed its 11 aged care homes and found it wasn’t viable to continue operating.

The church said in a statement this was because the Federal Government wasn’t offering any long-term funding for small regional services like the one in Bulahdelah.

Though the closest facility is half an hour away, many residents will be forced to travel an hour away to Taree, meaning their loved ones will have to embark on two-hour round trips to visit them.

Rod told A Current Affair that a solution could arise through a “stay of execution”, but that he didn’t have his hopes up that Anglican Care and the bishop would change their minds.

“Potentially it could be saved … but they’re not flexible, they’ve made their decision and they won’t listen,” he said.

Now it seems the only hope for elderly Austraions in towns like Bulahdelah could come after the looming federal election, if the next leaders decide to funnel money into these areas.

Images: A Current Affair

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