HOSPITAL AT HOME: Maxine Henderson, Dr Shenal Appuhamy, Carol Burns, Adella McCallion, Caroline Heselwood, Mark Thomson, Pauline Alderbing and Olivia Blue at Hervey Bay Hospital.
HOSPITAL AT HOME: Maxine Henderson, Dr Shenal Appuhamy, Carol Burns, Adella McCallion, Caroline Heselwood, Mark Thomson, Pauline Alderbing and Olivia Blue at Hervey Bay Hospital. Jessica Lamb

BIG ISSUES SERIES: Seniors speak out, help just a call away

AFFORDABILITY, access to housing, social isolation, knowledge of services and elder abuse.

These are just some of the issues Fraser Coast seniors face on a daily basis.

But Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre chief executive officer Tanya Stevenson said it was not all bad news for our pensioners.

While there was no denying there were social issues within the community, Ms Stevenson said there were services available to combat these issues.

"The biggest form of elder abuse is family misusing funds which we can give support and advice with our free legal service," she said.

"We run Comfort Kitchen on certain days with free meals for those who are financially vulnerable.

"The first Thursday of the month we host a Culture Cafe where for $5 we have lunch and trivia and activities for people to socialise.

"Loneliness is one of our biggest social issues coming up in the next 10 years and the UK has recently appointed a minister of loneliness so making sure you can remain involved in the community as much as possible defiantly help. We are human beings and we need social contact.


"We also have a transport service for over 65s where we pick you up and drop you off anywhere if you can't drive for $10 two ways."

Coinciding with National Seniors Week this week, Hospital In The Home's Pauline Alderbing hopes to shed some light on another little-known service aimed at helping the region's elderly.

The clinical nurse consultant for the Fraser Coast's integrated care services at Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service deals with a multitude of services including caring for chronic illnesses, supportive therapies and providing hospital care in the home.

"We are a hospital substitution and instead of nursing in hospital we are nursing in your own bed," Ms Alderbing said.

"For the elderly and especially those who have mobility problems, being able to have someone come to you is a great service. Hospitals can be confusing and uncomfortable."

Ms Alderbing said the HITH team made care more accessible.

"The great thing about us is you don't need a hospital referral or to come to the hospital first, your general practitioner can just call the hospital and refer you to the HITH. We can also take ones from other hospitals if you were treated elsewhere," she said.

"I'm convinced that there are a few new GPs who don't know about this service.

"We go up to 15 patients - normally about 10 in Hervey Bay and five in Maryborough.

"It could go higher or lower depending on complexity or simplicity of what's needed, we are fairly flexible."

The HITH team is made up of clinical nurses, a doctor and pharmacists.

"We will go to homes, nursing homes and even come to your caravan if you are on holidays here," Ms Alderbing said.

"We want to get the message out we do exist and can help. Ask your GP or hospital about us."

Fraser Coast senior services

Focus on Friendship

Focus on Friendship Social Group for Seniors is held the second Wednesday of the month from 9.30 - 11.30 am at the Urangan Community Centre, Elizabeth St, Urangan.

Community Visitors Scheme

Volunteers provide companionship to people who are socially isolated and live in aged care or receive a home care package in their home. Phone 4194 3000

Hervey Bay APSL

A community organisation for the over 40's focusing on social activities as well as computer lessons and meditation. Visit 61 Hunter St, Pialba.

60 and Better Program

The programs ais managed by older people who meet regularly to plan activities and discuss health issues. Phone 4194 6781

Older Men Unlimited

Older Men Unlimited is an independent voluntary body providing community support for older men of every circumstance to enable them to overcome social isolation. Morning tea meetings are held on the fourth Monday of each month at 10am in the Urangan Community Centre, Elizabeth St.

Hervey Bay Men's Shed

The Australian Men's Shed Association (AMSA) is a community-based organisation accessible to all whose primary activity is the provision of a safe, friendly & healing environment. Phone 4325 3471