Next generation of aged care

PRESENTATION: Whyalla Aged Care CEO Juanita Walker and Whyalla Tourism Focus Group Chairman Barbara Derham.

PRESENTATION: Whyalla Aged Care CEO Juanita Walker and Whyalla Tourism Focus Group Chairman Barbara Derham.

The issues facing the aged care industry were outlined by Whyalla Aged Care (WAC) Chief Executive Officer Juanita Walker at a free event run by the Whyalla Chamber of Commerce last week.

Ms Walker described aged care as an industry that was misunderstood by the general public, with providers in regional areas achieving innovative solutions to the challenges they face.

"Some of the technology we're using now helps people stay in their home...robotics are playing an increasing role in aged care, particularly when workforce is a continual challenge moving forward," she said.

"Robotics will help with social interaction for residents, it will also help with medication management and wound management.

"When automotive vehicles are rolled out in communities like Whyalla it will help reduce social isolation

Currently it's an exciting time for aged care in Whyalla, with WAC planning to open a $10 million state-of-the-art facility which will contain 14 new dementia beds.

Residents will be moving into the new Memory Support Wing in September-October this year, with the full project to be completed in March 2020.

"We're looking forward to it being open, it will increase our staffing numbers and make available specific care for people with dementia in Whyalla," Ms Walker said.

"I think the community are really looking forward to that."

Whyalla Aged Care has faced significant challenges this year, with its Copperhouse Court Hostel being sanctioned by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission for failing to meet three health and personal care areas in January.

This forced a number of older residents living with dementia to seek accommodation outside Whyalla.

"The new facility will have another 14 aged care places which are specifically for residents with dementia. That will certainly meet some of the needs we have at the moment," Ms Walker said.

The forum was held at the Playford Apartments on Darling Terrace last Tuesday.