Call for aged care facility on Southern Moreton Bay Islands amid Royal Commission

HOME NEEDED: Aged care services are lacking on the islands, some residents say. Photo: AAP
HOME NEEDED: Aged care services are lacking on the islands, some residents say. Photo: AAP

RESIDENTS say an aged care facility is needed on the Southern Moreton Bay Islands so locals are not forced to move hours away from home for the care they need.

Macleay Island resident Gayle Nemeth said aged care on the SMBIs was severely lacking.

"Without improving access to a more accessible system, many older islanders are likely to face a bleak future," she said.

"Sadly, under current arrangements, they may have no choice but to leave the islands in order to enter an aged care facility.

"No one wants to find themselves isolated and in an unfamiliar environment."

Ms Nemeth said a not-for-profit aged care home would cater for the needs of the island's ageing demographic.

It would also be more affordable, with the SMBIs being a lower socio-economic area than the mainland Redlands.

"One gentleman was moved to a nursing home and the closest spot they could find was near Beaudesert," she said.

"Another person we know was sent out behind Laidley because that was where a spot was available.

"It just makes it impossible for families to visit and that's bad for health and wellbeing.

"The great majority are people who are living from pension to pension but love the island and want to live there for the rest of their lives."

At the 2016 census, one third of SMBI residents were aged 65 and older.

The call comes as the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety investigates the quality and safety of aged care in Australia.

Ms Nemeth said the islands were growing quickly and it was time to set up the infrastructure to take care of the elderly population.

"While acknowledging the existence of various in-home care services, like Blue Care, the establishment of nursing home facilities on at least one of the Southern Moreton Bay Islands is highly desirable," she said.

A Redland City Council spokesman said council shared Ms Nemeth's concern about ageing on the islands.

The spokesman said council was developing an age-friendly action plan to outline its vision for an inclusive community and was working with the island community to identify aged care options.

ISOLATED: Residents have to move to the mainland, in some cases many kilometres away, to access the level of care they need.

ISOLATED: Residents have to move to the mainland, in some cases many kilometres away, to access the level of care they need.

Redlands MP Kim Richards said she had spoken with many residents who were concerned with the lack of aged care.

"I think we need to treat our elderly in the community with the respect they deserve," Ms Richards said.

"This is such an important issue for our ageing island community and the federal government must meet its responsibility to keep older Australians safe no matter what part of the country they live in."

Bowman MP Andrew Laming said while a dedicated aged care facility was unfeasible for the small SMBI population, a multi-purpose health services hub would be a good fit.

The Multi-Purpose Services Program combines funding for aged care services from the federal government with state and territory health services, providing care services for small and isolated communities that could not viably support stand-alone aged care services or hospitals.

He said the state government would need to make an application for such a hub to be set up.