Aged care change

Strathalbyn’s Kalimna Hostel is a victim of our changing times.
Built in the early 1980s, it was ideal for the aged care needs of seniors over three decades ago.
Back then those moving into the hostel were younger, fitter and more active.
Several still drove themselves around.
Now those needs have changed – the elderly have much better in-home care options, meaning they can stay in their own home much longer.
But that also means by the time they move into aged care, they require greater support.
Building and safety standards have also changed over the past 30 years.
To meet current standards, aged care homes need to accommodate the removal of residents on a wheeled bed in case of emergency such as a fire.
Kalimna Hostel does not meet that requirement and, engineers believe, it cannot be refurbished to fit the standard, meaning Country Health SA has no choice but to close the facility.
That decision no doubt will come as a blow to the 15 residents who call the site home.
They now face uncertain futures as they and their families look to find a new home either in the aged care facility next to the town’s hospital or in other homes in the region.
Country Health SA has committed to minimising that upheaval by working with residents to make their transition as smooth as possible.
Once the doors of the hostel close, Strathalbyn faces another uncertainty – what will happen to the facility itself.
With an increasing aging population, the loss of a 24-bed aged care home will be acutely felt in the local community.
While Country Health SA plans to retain the licenses for those 24 beds, whether it will establish a new facility on the site or in another part of the town remains unknown.
The hostel location is ideally suited to aged care, with its close proximity to the hospital and supporting health care providers.
If the State Government does not have the funds to redevelop the site, perhaps it could entice a private aged care operator to build a similar facility on the land.
It would be a shame to see the site lost to housing or commercial development.