Bay retiree travels hours to see his doctors

WHEN Alan Roker needs to see a specialist doctor for a 10-minute appointment, it means driving four hours to Brisbane; spending his pension money on fuel and accommodation.

For 74-year-old Mr Roker, retiring to Hervey Bay more than five years ago was like moving to Paradise - but it was leaving him feeling isolated.

He said living with type 1 diabetes meant he spent a lot of time in doctors' offices; including those who were based hundreds of kilometres away.

Fair Go for the Regions - Alan Roker. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Fair Go for the Regions - Alan Roker. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle Alistair Brightman

"I don't know why they can't get a specialist here once or twice a week and have them fly back," Mr Roker said.

"For people here, especially the elderly, it is a big hassle to organise transport to Brisbane just to see a doctor."

The retiree said he could live comfortably in Torquay, but still needed to watch his money and make sure he was not spending too much of his pension. "I do try to save here or there," he said.

"You don't just turn the heater on if you're cold; you put on a jumper, for example.

"I just bought a new car and, of course, I couldn't spend a lot of money on it, but it's good enough for my type of driving."

The former police officer and firefighter has lived in England and New Zealand, but chose to retire on the Fraser Coast for the lifestyle.

Mr Roker runs the Hervey Bay support group, volunteers for Meals on Wheels and is a member of both the retired police association and the model railway group.

He said he could understand why so many people wanted to retire to Hervey Bay.

"The people here are so friendly and the climate is perfect," he said.

"I'm quite happy to spend my twilight years here."

FAST FACTS

  • 25% of Fraser coast residents over 65 in 2001
  • 15% of Brisbane residents over 65 in 2011
  • 32% of Fraser Coast residents projected to be over 65 in 2036
  • 17.5% of Brisbane residents projected to be over 65 in 2036

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