Central Coast transforms into 'God's waiting room'
THE Central Coast has officially become God's waiting room with the highest percentage of population aged over 80 in Australia.
The region also recorded the highest number of centenarians in NSW with 64 residents who have notched up a tonne or more, according to exclusive analysis of last year's Census data.
The Express Advocate can reveal 19,396 people - or 5.9 per cent of the Coast's population - were aged 80 or over when residents sat down to complete Australia's first ever internet-enabled Census form or when interviewers came knocking on August 9 last year.
This is compared with 5.2 per cent of Queensland's Sunshine Coast's population aged over 80, 4.9 per cent of Sydney's Northern Beaches, and 4 per cent of the Gold Coast.
Australia's 17th Census of population and housing uncovered the full extent of the Central Coast's ageing population with the region ranked fourth in Australia for 100-year-olds behind greater Brisbane with 180 centenarians, the Gold Coast with 83 and the Sunshine Coast's 68.
The Coast also ranked third in the country for the highest number of residents aged 90-99, with 3666 people, behind Brisbane (7817) and the Gold Coast (4374), and third for residents aged 80-89.
According to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics the country's life expectancy hit an highest last year with babies born today expected to live to the ripe old age of 80.4 years for males and 84.5 years for females - up a bit over a month each for men and women on the year before.
Margaret Hanney, of William Cape Gardens at Kanwal, moved to the Central Coast with her late husband and four children in 1973 after selling their garden nursery in Sydney.
She said while there were a lot of elderly residents there were also "babies everywhere" which boded well for the future.
"I've noticed a lot of change," the 86-year-old said. "Where there was a lot of older people, there are [now] a lot of younger people, which is reassuring for the next generation."
Mrs Hanney said having suffered asthma as a child she "never smoked" and credits her grandmother's skin for her youthful disposition.
"There's not many things I have not done but I never smoked and never drunk," she said.
Mrs Hanney said the Coast was a wonderful place to retire. "I love it, I would not live anywhere else," she said. "I love the people."
LIVING TWILIGHT YEARS IN LUXURY
A RELAXING coffee and hairdresser appointment, followed by a trip to the cinema, a splash in the pool and an alfresco dining experience - it sounds more like a luxury resort than an aged care facility.
But Aurrum has raised the bar on retirement living by officially opening its luxury five-star retirement complex at Erina.
The 71-bed Aurrum Terrigal Drive facility boasts everything from alfresco dining, with electronic menu boards and a Maitre D', to a wellness centre with hydrotherapy pool, cinema, library and hairdressing salon.
Aurrum chairman David Di Pilla said the $20 million project, which included the upgrading of a residential aged care centre behind the new complex, was designed to provide 24-7 clinical care as well as "high quality of life".
He said it was designed around four key elements; clinical care excellence, wellness and lifestyle, food and drink, and exceptional environment.
"There was a demand for this type of facility on the Central Coast," he said. "We see the Central Coast and the broader Gosford/Terrigal area as the second largest city and region in NSW."
The latest site in Erina is the fifth Aurrum facility on the Coast. The group has over 500 beds in the region with other sites at Wyoming, Kincumber and Norah Head.
"We started upgrading the existing Terrigal Drive site three years ago," Mr Di Pilla said.
"The reaction from residents has been positive and our occupancy levels are high. We felt the people of the Central Coast deserved an aged care facility that reflects our learning and growth. We are really pleased with the new facility."
The individual suites have creature comforts including smart wiring, so lights turn on when residents walk in a room, marble ensuites and wide-screen televisions. The company has its own Aurrum Channel so residents can see what's planned for the day and what's on the menu, which has been created by Aurrum Food Ambassador Karen Martini. The hallways are lined with beautiful artwork, and there are spacious lounges with electronic fireplaces.
Mr Di Pilla said the project would bring "significant economic benefits to the community", creating 70 new jobs.
This article was first published in the Central Coast Gosford Express Advocate