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No Place Like Home: Spending Your Golden Years in the Hawkesbury

By Jacqueline Ball
Archived 20 Jul 2019 - Posted: 23 May 2019
With Australia’s over 65 population set to increase to just under 9 million by 2056 according to government data, it’s clear that individuals, families and communities need to plan carefully for the future.

At present, around one third of Hawkesbury's residents are aged over 50, so this is an issue that’s close to home; does this rural setting have enough for those who plan to age in place here?  The answer is yes, absolutely, so long as people plan for their future lifestyle. With NSW’s 2019-2020 budget committing to improved hospitals and infrastructure, prospects for old age are improving for many across Australia, but the Hawkesbury in particular has much to offer.

What is aging in place?

For those unfamiliar with the term, aging in place is defined as making a choice to stay in your preferred residence and community, accessing all that you need for a well rounded, safe life, regardless of age or income.  Close to home, cities such as Sydney have taken steps towards enabling and encouraging this, with plans to increase affordable housing which will help those adjusting to living on retirement budgets.  In order to successfully plan for aging in place, however, you must consider not just the financial implications, but also how you can maintain both physical and emotional health.

Active aging

While previous studies have suggested that seniors in urban areas enjoy better health, places such as the Hawkesbury with its stunning national parks, forests and nature reserves offer plenty of green spaces in which to keep active and enjoy sunshine and fresh air.  With local clubs offering everything from fencing to golf, there are also structured activities for those who prefer them. Of course, there are also plenty of historical attractions for those who prefer to learn as they stroll.

Staying safe

One aspect of the Hawkesbury which makes it ideal for aging in place, is the community spirit and availability of practical services to help with whatever you need.  The earlier a person can think about future proofing their home, the better; the rate of fall injuries requiring hospitalisation has increased over time, and homes which were perfectly suitable for many years can become more hazardous as eyesight, balance or other faculties become less reliable.  It’s best to consider practical solutions to adapt your living space as soon as possible so that you can feel confident and safe at home, and this area has many options to help you achieve this.

Connecting with others

For many seniors in rural areas such as the Hawkesbury, the challenge is to stay connected socially and to feel mentally stimulated.  As Prime Minister Morrison has recently pledged $10 million to combat loneliness among seniors, state services are continuing to develop and support older members of the community.  On a local level, the Hawkesbury has seen upgrades to community halls where seniors can meet, as well as initiatives such as intergenerational playgroups at Tabulam Cottages.  The Hawkesbury library also remains a vital and much loved asset for seniors.

While Australia’s senior population continues to grow, many are choosing to age in place and continue to enjoy the facilities they have known for years.  Hawkesbury is in a privileged position with its natural beauty, variety of amenities and community spirit. Seniors planning to spend their golden years locally should take advantage of all the activities on offer, ensure their homes are future-ready, and find groups or clubs to feel a part of.  There’s no place like home, especially when home is Hawkesbury.

 
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