Tasmania’s ageing population is not often cause for celebration.
Often, the discourse around the well-known statistics is negative – there are no facilities for older people, how will the state cope with the exodus of people about to retire, or more social issues, like health care for the elderly or whether the elderly have a right to have a licence.
Then, there are the stories of elderly abuse, with people taking advantage of their elder family or friends.
So, when a positive investment in the sector and in our community’s elders comes along, it should be celebrated loudly.
On Monday, Southern Cross Care announced exactly that – a large-scale expansion of its Glenara Lakes retirement village at Kings Meadows.
The new expansion will take the total number of villas at the complex to 111 and the expansion will be supported by a community centre, library, craft room, meeting rooms, theatrette, large function room, kitchen, tennis court and bowls rink.
It will be a $7 million investment in the company, but also in the current and future residents of the centre.
The construction is also likely to have an impact on Launceston’s bottom line, with up to 35 construction jobs to be created as the project gets under way.
It is unknown if any ongoing jobs will emerge once the facility is complete.
Aged care is emerging as one of the growing industries in Tasmania, with the ageing population in need of care and services.
That is proven in the take up of the Glenara expansion, with 19 out of 20 villas already sold to future clients.
The 20 extra villas now available are only the first stage of the expansion, with more available as the project progresses.
It is pleasing to see private investment in the sector, to ease some of that pressure and provide for those who have already given much to our communities.
However, aged care services and facilities are only one part of the puzzle.
The aged care sector needs to be supported by a whole breadth of industry, to ensure we give our elderly residents the respect they deserve.