Care for the aged

The closure of the Kalimna Hostel has dealt a heavy blow to aged care services in Strathalbyn.
The ripple effect of the loss of the 24 bed, high care facility in February is now being felt in the town as elderly residents struggle to access local services.
With fewer available nursing home beds, those needing high level care are staying instead in beds in the town’s hospital.
So are those elderly people in need of respite.
Community services are stretched by increasing demand for care packages to help older residents stay in their own homes.
Those who are missing out, or waiting longer for services, are relying more and more on family members to step in and provide that care.
As the community-driven Kalimna Working Group found, there was no viable way to retain the hostel as a high-care nursing home because the building did not meet fire safety and could not be easily upgraded.
However, while the closure was unavoidable, those 24 bed licences are critically needed in Strathalbyn and something must be done to ensure they can be reinstated.
The working group should be commended for its thorough investigation of the Kalimna closure and future options for the building and for the bigger picture of aged care in the town.
Using the hostel as a hub for community services with a focus on aged care allows the building to continue its link to the sector.
The group also argues that there is an urgent need for another 60 residential aged care places to be provided in Strathalbyn by 2021.
The group’s recommendation to expand the existing nursing home near the hospital to incorporate the 24 ex-Kalimna beds, plus a further 12 to meet growing demand, deserves serious consideration by the State Government.
Its further suggestion that Country Health SA work with private aged care providers to help attract a further 24 beds to the town would also help ease the pressure on local services.
With an increasing aging population, it is vital that the State Government plan now for the expansion of aged care in Strathalbyn so that those who have lived all their lives in the district can continue to call it home.