GRAND PLANS: Barry Murnane (facility manager) and Melinda Andersen (clinical nurse manager) from Yaralla Place Residential Aged Care Facility are excited about the planned new facility.
GRAND PLANS: Barry Murnane (facility manager) and Melinda Andersen (clinical nurse manager) from Yaralla Place Residential Aged Care Facility are excited about the planned new facility.

Multi-million-dollar aged care boom to hit Fraser Coast

A MULTI-MILLION dollar aged care boom is expected to hit the Fraser Coast in the next two years with two brand new facilities to be built in Hervey Bay and Maryborough.

One of the two projects will include a $20.million extension of Yaralla Pl in Maryborough, run by PresCare, across the road from their current facility.

The facility will employ 110 more staff members and includes 100 new beds, five of which will be dedicated to housing the homeless or those at risk of becoming homeless.

In Hervey Bay, Regis Aged Care has been given more than $5.5.million in federal funding to build a new 90-bed facility.

The Federal Government also committed almost $2.5.million towards the Yaralla Pl expansion, as part of the latest round of aged care approvals.

The two projects, which will be worth more than $28.million in total, are desperately needed. As of June last year, the Wide Bay had a shortfall of 2843 aged care beds.

Wide Bay MP Warren Truss said the Yaralla Pl development was an "important addition" to Maryborough.

"It's great to have it happen," Mr Truss said.

"That's 100 more beds for so people can stay and get care here, and more than 100 new jobs."

"We certainly do have waiting lists on the Fraser Coast," Mr Truss said.

"People tend to do, particularly if it's high care, it's simply not an option for them to stay home, and sometimes people have to leave town, and that is a tragedy."

Providing elderly people with the care they need is not cheap; according to the Federal Government it costs $60,100 on average to care for each resident on the Fraser Coast, and even more for those with higher needs.

Both agencies have just two years to build the new facilities.

Hinkler MP Keith Pitt said the projects would give elderly people the quality of care they deserved, as well as providing a cash injection into the economy.

"These additional places are essential in ensuring our elderly receive the quality care they deserve," Mr Pitt said.

"Apart from the obvious benefits for our aging residents and their families, this funding presents enormous opportunity for the local community more broadly," Mr Pitt said.

"As the baby boomer generation ages and demand for quality aged care and retirement villages continues to grow."

The announcement of the two new buildings comes after a $30.million Premier Health Care facility was announced in February, to be built in Urraween's Medical Pl, offering 145 new beds.

PresCare CEO Greg Skelton said he was keen to expand it's services through the Fraser Coast.

To tackle the issue of isolation, PresCare CEO Greg Skelton said PresCare had a mission to reduce the impacts of social isolation amongst the elderly.

"Social isolation is experienced by one in five Australians and can lead to depression and early death in our aging population," according to researchers at the University of Adelaide," Mr Skelton said.

"The region's population is set to continue to grow by almost 2000 new residents per year over the next 10 years, and over the next 25 years those aged 65 years and over will become the largest cohort," he said.

"All this means that PresCare's mission to provide connected care for seniors will become more and more crucial in regions like Wide Bay."

Queensland Aged and Disability Advocacy (QADA) CEO Geoff Rowe said the beds would be welcomed.

"We're seeing more and more older people, practically in rural and regional Queensland, where they have to find places where aged care facilities are available away from their community," Mr Rowe said.

"It's a high level of stress for an older person to have to move, but also for their loved ones, no-one wants to see their loved ones moved away; it makes them feel isolated."

He said having another more aged care facilities on the Fraser Coast would cut down on waiting times for available beds.

Regis Aged Care declined to comment on the Hervey Bay announcement, as the land acquisition process is confidential. 

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