Pensioner group responds to aged-care hotel change proposal
QUEENSLAND'S peak aged care advocacy body has thrown its support behind a plan to transform Ipswich's Metro International Hotel into a nursing home.
The Ipswich City Council has received an application to change the use of the South St site into a nursing home.
Council of the Ageing Queensland represents the needs of the state's 718,000 people aged 65 and over.
Chief executive officer Mark Tucker-Evans welcomed the application to create more facilities for older Ipswich residents.
"On the surface at least it sounds like an efficient way to bring beds on stream much earlier than building something from scratch," he said.
"Ipswich is interesting because it's got a lot of young families, but there's also a lot of people who have been there a long time.
"With an ageing population, there's going to be a demand for aged care. It would seem that's a good response."
Mr Tucker-Evans said there was a growing demand for individual care.
"The shift largely is trying to provide aged care services in the home rather than dedicated aged care facilities," he said.
By 2036, it is projected one in five Queenslanders will be aged 65 and over.
Mr Tucker-Evans said providers must apply for aged care beds and have them allocated by the Australian Department of Health.
He said the thought to transform the hotel would fast-track the provision of additional services.
"Normally once you receive the allocation of beds it takes a couple of years to build the facility," he said.
"The demand is certainly there but provided there's appropriate care within the facility then it seems on the surface to be a good idea," Mr Tucker-Evans said.
Plans to change the hotel have caused concern among the city's tourism industry.
Last week Floating Images hot air balloons' owner Graeme Day said the loss of the Metro hotel would be a blow to the accommodation industry.
The hotel change of use proposal comes as COTA continues to advocate for more flexible housing options.
Mr Tucker-Evans said housing was an emotional issue with decisions often made under stress.
"Vulnerability and homelessness is an issue that is starting to have a growing impact on seniors and in particular, older women.
"More concerted action is needed to assist those seniors who, for a variety of reasons, find themselves displaced from appropriate housing and made homeless," Mr Tucker-Evans said.
The Council of the Ageing chief executive said there was a trend towards building high-rise aged care facilities in built-up areas.
A development application has also been lodged with the Ipswich City Council to build stage three of Aveo Springfield, Australia's largest master-planned retirement community.