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Bold scheme to reshape aged care in Denmark

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Patricia GillDenmark Bulletin

Business developer and founder of Denmark-based Acare WA Marie Redman has proposed that the Shire of Denmark buildings be vacated to make way for seniors’ accommodation.

Her suggestion, which would involve the Shire moving into the site of Supa IGA and a new big supermarket being built elsewhere, was met with applause at last Thursday’s meeting at the Riverside Club.

Mrs Redman said at the meeting to outline Acare WA’s locally-managed aged care services that such a plan would take time and money and was not the current focus of the service which was home care.

“Imagine all that space being developed for better accommodation,” Mrs Redman said.

She proposed that the future close-to-town accommodation would be ‘downsizing’ rather than ‘downgrading’ for the residents.

But one attendee said that the new supermarket should not be on the Hardy Street block at the corner of South Coast Highway, a location previously earmarked for such a development.

This was adjacent to Amaroo Village and in the past a proposal to develop the site with a supermarket has met with opposition.

Mrs Redman also flagged the need for a ‘dementia house’ in the long-term.

However improving local aged care would require taking one step at a time and with Acare WA building its care community, employment platform and making sure most of the townspeople who required aged care were ‘on this model’.

Many issues raised were listed as ‘gnarly’ problems and were not part of the scope of Acare WA at the moment.

Mrs Redman’s vision for Denmark’s future aged care development was in response to nonagenarian Lesly Bayley who lives at home with her fellow nonagenarian husband, Jeff.

“We get some care and are quite able at the moment,” Mrs Bayley said.

“But comes a time when we cannot stay at home, there is nowhere (for us to go) but Blue Wren.”

Although only about 10 per cent of attendees at the meeting was considering downsizing, one man said the lack of available real estate made such a move difficult.

The meeting focused on the need for better pedestrian access across South Coast Highway at both Hollings Road to access IGA Xpress and at Strickland Street to reach Supa IGA.

There was talk of elderly people driving extended routes to avoid right turns at these intersections with one attendee describing the Strickland Street intersection as ‘death row’.

Catherine Burges pointed out how RAC WA had listed the Strickland Street intersection as the tenth most dangerous in WA.

A less steep access to Supa IGA was necessary.

Long-term resident Adrienne Riddell wanted to know if cars or pedestrians had the right of way when crossing the road between Denmark Bakery and the Denmark Library in Strickland Street. The area in question, designed as a ‘town square’, has no signage indicating who had right of way.

Mrs Riddell had helped many people across the road in the past but now that she was elderly found crossing there confusing.

An aged care support worker from the platform, Mabel, called for ‘wheelchair parking’ which was flat.

Aware that the purpose of the slope was for water drainage, she spoke of having to have a step made to assist her clients in and out of vehicles in ACROD carparks.

Other suggestions were for a 40kmh speed limit in Strickland Street, making the street one way and speed humps in Hardy Street where Amaroo Village is based. Hardy Street had recently been busy due to nearby roadworks. 

Denmark Bulletin 4 April 2024

This article appeared in the Denmark Bulletin, 4 March 2024.

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