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Bega Valley Shire CouncilBega Valley Shire Council

Older people & seniors

Bega Valley has a very high proportion of older people compared to the NSW average and projections indicate that the proportion of older people in our community is increasing. It is also estimated that one fifth of the residents in the Shire have some form of a disability, this is a significant proportion of the population. 

Over 33% of the Bega Valley population is aged over 55, compared to 24.6% for NSW. Bega Valley is ranked 29th amongst the 152 local government areas in NSW in terms of its proportion of people aged 65+. It is ranked 67th in terms of its proportion of people aged 85+.  In 2006 there were 10,350 residents of the Shire aged 55+ The proportion of older people is particularly high in some of the coastal towns – for instance 49% of the population of Tura Beach is aged 55+, followed by Bermagui (43%) and Merimbula (nearly 41%). (new census info available)

Council has a key leadership role to play in raising awareness in the community about the needs of older people. 

Access For All

Bega Valley Shire Council is committed to all people having equal opportunity to take part in local activities and have fair access to Council and community programs, services and resources. Council works to achieve this by:

  • maintaining planning controls to guide provision of access and mobility in developments and upgrades to existing buildings;
  • facilitating an Access Advisory Committee to address barriers to access and mobility in the Shire; and
  • working to assist local businesses in complying with the Disability Discrimination Act legislation.

Council views these provisions as a response to basic and fundamental human rights and social justice.

If you have an issue to raise about ‘Access for all people’ please contact Katrina Berenguer on 6499 2358 or kberenguer@begavalley.nsw.gov.au for further information about the Access Advisory Committee.

Public Toilets

Find accessible toilets in the Bega Valley Shire: http://www.toiletmap.gov.au. Also available as an App for smart phones.

Ageing at Home

As the population grows older, a new philosophy known as "ageing-in-place" is growing in popularity. Ageing-in-place means embracing home remodels, additions, building styles, and home improvements that make it possible for people to stay in their homes, and out of "the nursing home," as long as possible.

Homeowners across Australia are beginning to think ahead and design homes that will allow them to remain independent and at home for as long as possible.  Understandably, it would be difficult to find the exact home that will meet your future physical needs; however covering the bases for what most people experience as they age is a good place to start. Regardless of whether you remodel, buy or build, these are possible issues you might want to be mindful of when evaluating the features you want in your home.

  1. Easy access to the home
    Access to the home should include a step free covered entry with a clear pathway from the street or the garage to the main entry.
     
  2. Safety & security
    A clear line of sight to the entry provides safety & security. Movement sensor activated lights give good visibility between all indoor & outdoor living areas.
     
  3. Wide doorways, openings & corridors
    All internal & external doorways and corridors should be wide enough to allow for prams, trolleys, wheelchairs, crutches or walking frames.
     
  4. Light switches & door handles
    It is good to have light switches, electrical outlets & thermostat controls in an easy to reach spot for a person sitting or standing. Lever door handles are easier for everyone to use no matter what their age or ability.
     
  5. Reinforced wall for future grab rails
    Reinforcing the walls in the bathroom, shower & toilet makes it easier to install grab rails at a later date if required.
     
  6. Slip-resistant flooring
    Slip-resistant flooring throughout, especially in wet areas such as kitchens, bathrooms & laundries will help to reduce the risk of injury & falls.
     
  7. Open plan kitchen
    Kitchens with an open floor plan provide good access for everyone. Where possible install adjustable shelving & pull-out storage drawers. Lever handles on all taps will allow them to be used with minimum force.
     
  8. Open plan bathroom
    Sufficient floor space in bathrooms & toilets & level entry to the shower recess allow access for everyone. A hand held, height adjustable showerhead is easy for people sitting or standing.
     
  9. Smart house technology
    Include cabling & outlet points in all rooms throughout the home for future integrated electronic control & communication systems, such as: telephone, television, security & internet, plus the possible need for tele-care at a later date.
     
  10. 2–storey houses, villas, apartments
    It’s a good idea to consider the possibility of extra space near internal stairs for later installation of a lift or stair-climber if needed.

Elements of an accessible entrance

Image showing elements of an accessible entrance.

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