ELDERLY residents in a Bibra Lake retirement village say they’re being discriminated against by some of the complex’s “youngsters” who are trying to save a few dollars by getting rid of carers.
Lakeside Village is managed by ASX-listed company Lendlease and has a mix of roughly 300 units and homes under strata management, with about 10 carers to assist residents after falls or with other odd jobs.
But at a strata management meeting due next week, a motion calling for residents to utilise only an existing off-site emergency call system will be put to residents. Although it’s not explicit in the motion, that will mean the carers will be retrenched, saving residents about $80 a year.
At 78, Moya Bruce is sprightly enough, but she’s gone in to bat for the village’s oldest residents.
She says they will be most affected by a change driven by the younger crowd.
“My neighbour is 97 and she goes to the village’s club, and the carers pick her up and take her down for the church service they hold there,” Ms Bruce told the Herald.
She says without that support, there’s no way for her neighbour to get out and about because she’s too frail.
Ms Bruce says the changes will also place pressure on the public health system, as the emergency call service is based in the eastern states and its operators will have no recourse but to call an ambulance if an elderly resident reports a fall or feeling ill.
That’s also got 90-year-old Peggy Grieves seeing red: “When you fall, you don’t need an ambulance,” she says.
Ms Grieves’ daughter Laura Casey says carers were one of the reasons she bought her mother’s unit a decade ago and she’s angry they’re under threat.
“Some 15 months ago there was a meeting and it was decided that we would keep the carers during the week but reduce the services on the weekend,” Mr Casey says.
“I feel that this issue has already been voted on and decided not that long ago.”
Both Ms Bruce and Ms Casey say its unfair the village’s oldest residents still have to pay for a bowling green and other amenities they’re unable to use because of frailty, while those pushing for the change seem to feel they can skip paying for what they don’t use.
“Younger residents may not need the services now but if they live in the village for the rest of their lives, one day they will need a carer,” says Ms Casey.
The Herald contacted Lendlease who said they’d had good success with the emergency call section, and noted that the motion was resident-driven and they’d abide by whatever was decided.
by STEVE GRANT