HEALTH is one of the biggest issues of growing old, according to Ballarat senior citizen Helen Gower, who has been in and out of hospital after four falls in two years.
As Ballarat’s population increases and ages, the 75-year-old is one of a growing number of aged residents who will need reliable access to health care and infrastructure in the years to come.
The Ballarat Regional Capital Plan has highlighted an ageing population as a significant health challenge for the city over the next 30 years and calls for a state government investment of $66 million to keep up with demand.
Ms Gower, a widow who continues to live independently at home, said health, transport and access to services were top priorities for her future.
“A lot of people on their own and elderly are a bit reluctant to reach out and they don’t want to admit they’re getting older,” she said.
“I didn’t realise until two years ago that I had osteoporosis, and it was only after a fall.
“I was in the Queen Elizabeth (QE) Centre for two months with two broken shoulders.”
Ms Gower recently signed up to a service that she dials
into each day to say that she’s OK.
When it comes to her future housing needs, she hasn’t made a decision yet, but concedes her next step could be an aged-care complex.
She believes Ballarat will need another rehabilitation centre, having seen the demand first-hand.
“The QE Centre is terrific but there’s only so much work they can take,” she said.
“I also think we need more GPs. I think we’re getting a few now but I have people say to me they can’t get a GP.”