A Collection of Articles from Brisbane Times

Today (August 2nd, 2017 )I found a collection of articles on the Brisbane Times website.  It has been a concern of mine for a long time, that some companies in the aged care/retirement living industries are more concerned about profits than helping the elderly.

Some of the articles:

  • “Calls for action on retirement villages grows louder.”  Click here. 
  • “Aveo’s new Freedom Aged Care program comes at a high cost.”  Click here.
  • “Outcry over Aveo’s tactics as it pushes into aged care.” Click here.
  • “States scurry to reform retirement villages and ward off federal intervention.” Click here.

  •  Here is a collection of articles on the subject from the Sydney Morning Herald.  Cl22-July-The-Age-SMH-Freedom-articles-

One phrase that is heard often in this discussion is

  “Bleed them dry until they die”

While I acknowledge the good work done by most organisations in the care of our seniors, I object to the high-profit margins and “price gouging” that appears to be a major part of the aged care system.

One certainly needs a lot of money to go into a “retirement village” – and despite all the publicity from those organisations, not everyone is happy.

Recently I made inquiries about a seniors rental complex.

Rental of a one bedroom unfurnished “unit” is $385 per week, which includes 3 meals a day.    To rent a 3 bedroom house/unit in many areas of Queensland, you could pay around $325 per week rent,

To rent a 3 bedroom house/unit in many areas of Queensland, you could pay around $325 per week rent, so why would you pay $285 a week for a one bedroom unit?  (Allowing for $100 a week for meals.)

I also note that there are retirement villages in South Australia and Western Australia where the rent is less than $200 per week.  (Meals not included.)

Stories Galore

Continually in the press, there are articles about the issues facing senior solo women who do not have the funds to buy their own home, and indeed many are unable to afford their own rental property.

And despite all the publicity, I see no action by government at state or federal level, to assist.

Interestingly, when reading a book, “Pixie Annat  Champion of Nurses” I found the following lines

“Pixie loved her work with St Lukes and Anglicare: ‘I was passionate about care of the aged.  These people have lived in a less prosperous Australia, working at their first job for less than a few dollars a week. They fought world wars and the Great Depression and paid for their own homes without government assistance. Today we are looked on as a burden to the taxpayer.  I find that insulting.  They are the ones responsible for helping establish our wealthy country.  They are entitled to comfort and the best care possible, and I will continue to advocate for them.’

From page 92 of Pixie Annat “Champion of Nurses”

That is one of the problems with our modern world.  It seems that many people do not understand that one day they will be an older person in our society.  I wonder if they are concerned about how they will be treated when that time comes?

I must say that I had been fortunate to spend a lot of time with older people.  As a nurse, where I often worked with older people, especially those in hospital but I also worked in an aged care facility too.

As I get older myself, I know I have a better understanding of the challenges older people face.

Once upon a time we had larger families – where there was often a sibling that one could live with, or see often.  These days there are smaller families.  One or two child families.  Often one is along, because the other is deceased, lives far away, or some other issue.

In my case, I have a daughter and son living in the same state, but both work and have little time to “look after” me.  Financial considerations are challenging too.

Still, I know I deserve better.  I know that I and other seniors should be treated with more dignity and respect.

 

Increasing Interest in Older Women’s Homelessess

There seems to be increasing discussion on the issue of senior women’s housing issues.

Another article appeared in my inbox.   Click here to read it.

We are getting closer to creating a not-for-profit organisation and linking with other organisations interested in the topic.

In the recent State Budget there has been an increase in funding for “public housing” but I am concerned that just building bricks and mortar “units” is not necessarily the answer for many women.

Shared Housing is an option for many – but as I have probably said, it is not something that interests me.  I’ve tried and failed.  Retirement Villages work for some, but some solo women find them a little challenging.

Granny flats work for some – but it is likely that the “granny” will become somewhat isolated.  Families these days are terribly busy and have their own lives to lead, so often granny is neglected.

We need to look at a range of options.

Work is being done on this – something that SOSEW will be involved in.  Watch this space.

We are also seeking women who are prepared to tell their stories.   If you would like to participate, please send a message via the contact page.  Your privacy will be protected and we will not be using real names.  If you are in the Brisbane area, let us know please.

Homeless Women Article on Mission Australia Website

Mission Australia’s website details the stories of two homeless women.  Click here to read it. 

Federal Budget

The Federal Government released its proposed budget details, but despite the fact of a housing crisis there was not a lot of hope for those who are coping with housing affordability or similar.  It was very disappointing.

SOSEW PROGRESS

There are some developments with SOSEW which will be detailed on this site shortly.  I have had a couple of meetings with people who will support our aims.  One thing that will be organised in the next few weeks is to form an incorporated association.  This will give us recognition as a “real” organisation. I have a number of people interested in being on our initial board.  Identifying and creating the wording of our ‘objectives’  is being worked on at the moment.

We are also interested in hearing the stories of Australian women – about their housing challenges.  While there are many stories in the press, there are two of us working together on a publication of stories.  If you would like to tell your story – can you make contact through the Contact Form or our Facebook page – send a message on FB – do not give your personal details on Facebook.  The idea of the publication is to seek further support for SOSEW.

Everyone we speak with shows interest in the cohousing model that we talk about – but it will take a long time to set up.  One of the biggest hurdles is to get governments to take action.  The federal government does have a housing budget but the states are the ones that manage the funds.

People all around Australia who are in the rental market report challenges.  I see tenants as just making money for the landlords.  While there are many good landlords, there are some that just milk the tenants.

My Story

I moved out of my rental property last week.  I’d had enough of paying high rents and having to fight to get maintenance etc.  Even in my last weeks, the treatment by the real estate agent did not impress.  In the midst of packing, I was advised that a prospective tenant would be visiting with the agent to inspect the unit.  I spent an hour or so tidying up etc, but at the appointed time no one came.  The agent didn’t have the courtesy to communicate with me.  The following day, another time was made.  Again the prospective tenant did not show up.  The agent did this time.   I must say the agents were impressed with the condition of the unit when I left and I did receive my bond back and quickly too.

 

 

 

 




Ageing Women are the New Homeless

The headlines are “Aging Women are the New Homeless.”It is no surprise to me – and many of my friends.  I meet regularly with a group of women who are looking at sharing a house to manage the challenges of being a single senior woman.  Sharing comes with its own set of problems.

Within the next 10 days I move out of my unit into my campervan.  It will be my home – until I can afford some bricks and mortar of some sort.  I am one of many doing this.

I am still working on a program of co-housing for women – but I have a lot to do to get it off the ground and I welcome any support.  If you go to Facebook and send me a message, I will update you.

Over and over again I hear the stories of women, many who are amazingly positive about the future, who are faced with enormous challenges finding a suitable home.

My solution is only short term – how can I live forever in a campervan?  Clearly, as I age, a whole range of problems will face me.  Even now people ask me where I am going to park my van.  To go into a caravan park is expensive, though much cheaper than paying rent,  but at the moment I will do what other women do.  Just stop the van when and where they want to.  I know they can be moved on, but that is the only option for some women.

Housing Affordability

In recent weeks there has been a lot of press about housing affordability, but little or no reference to this cohort.  Until today.  The story is in many papers.  I will be starting on work with SOSEW in the next few weeks.  I just have to manage to move from the unit to the van.  Watch this space.

Read the article here. 

I am also looking for women to help me on the massive journey to create great permanent affordable housing for senior solo women.  If you would like to help, please contact me via Facebook or the contact form.

Is Shared Housing for You?

A number of ladies have recommended Shared Housing.  It is a great idea – especially if you can find the “right” person to share with.  Many people  choose share – it reduces most living costs and provides a friend to share time and activities with.  It can, though, be a challenge if there is any conflict.

My experience has not been good.  As part of our employment, I was required to share a two bedroom apartment.  The first week was ok, but it went downhill from there.  I won’t go into detail but the lady “demanded” I do things for her, she announced that she would do all the cooking and I would just have to eat what she provided.  There was no consultation.  She dictated. When I protested and endeavoured to negotiate, she yelled at me.  I went to my room and pondered the future.  We had another 5 months to go!

She then started telling people that I had “assaulted” her.  I had commenced worth there some weeks before her, and luckily for me, the employers did not believe her ranting.  She also had caused some problems with other people.  She was moved to another apartment.  It really upset me in many ways.  The idea of sharing, unless I know and get on well with the person I will share with, is scary to me.

I am looking for something more permanent too.

Image from Unsplashed. Photo by Henry Be

Shared Housing Problem

A recent story, about a guy, whose health deteriorated and his long term sharer in an apartment decreed that he didn’t want to live with someone who was ageing quickly.  Leaving the senior man in great difficulty.  Who would want to move in with a man who clearly had some physical health problems?  The man, already stressed with his health issues is currently looking or alternative accommodation.  As many would know, it is not an easy task and so far no solution has been found.  He cannot afford the rent on his own.

Stories about accessing public housing are most discouraging.  There appears to be long waiting lists for such housing.  It is not easy to find accommodation for seniors, unless you have a healthy bank balance.

Do take care when choosing to share.  Make sure you have a good agreement with the other person, and be clear in what is expected of each of you.

(If you are interested in Shared Housing, check out Facebook or Dr Google for sites that assist with sharing.)

Last Census details

April 13, 2017

On Census night 2011, there were “over 2,200 women improvised dwellings, tents or sleeping out.”  The 2016 Census details will be published in the next few months.  I wonder what data they will have collected on this cohort?

45,813 women were experiencing homelessness on Census night.

Details on Homelessness 2011 here.

What about a Tiny House?

There is a lot of information about the “Tiny House” movement on television and the Internet these days.  Essentially a tiny house is a small house – around the size of a small caravan.  It can be put on wheels so that you can tow it (if you have a car that can tow).  Or, you need some land.  Somewhere.

My Coaster Tiny House

I have decided to move full time into a van.  A Toyota Coaster.  I did spend a lot of time looking at other vans.  I wanted one with a toilet and shower.  And a good bed and other facilities.  Eventually, I found “my” van.  It’s an oldie but a goodie.  I am hoping it is a goodie.  Time will tell.

My Tiny House
Murtle.

It came today – and I had a lesson or two on how to use it.  So much to learn!  It is a steamy hot day today, so I chose to park it out the front of my unit.  Over the next few days I will go in and check it all out and work out what I am going  to put in it.

There are two single beds.  I will need only one, so will deck the other with cushions and make it into a couch.  There is crockery and utensils in it.  There are other things too.  It will take some time working out what I am going to put in the van.  I need to be very careful.

I will be taking my computer and a printer.  Some photograph equipment etc.  It is well set up, with plenty of cupboard space, but I am sure I will fill it easily!

There’s no urgency.  I will take a few short trips to test out various parts of it.  Plenty to learn.  This is my tiny house.

I have discovered that there are many women who live in vans, (caravan, motor homes) or tents. A sad indictment on the housing situation in Australia.  It is not just older women – younger women too are unable to find housing.

It is a disgrace.

Too Much Money for Public Housing and Not Enough to Buy

How many women are in this situation?  There are no statistics that I can find.  But I do know it happens.

To be eligible for government housing in Queensland, there are a number of criteria.  It is the financial one that can be an issue for senior solo women.  There are two major ways to enter public/subsidised housing.  One is through the state government and the other NRAS.

There are several items of eligibility – in Queensland for public housing

Update

It  is March 19th, and I am waiting for a special vehicle to arrive at my place.  I have decided that I no longer wish to stay in the private rental market and pay $650 per fortnight for a unit that is too big for me.  I no longer can mow lawns so that is another expense.

Soon I will be living in a Toyota Coaster van.  It is due to arrive in the next hour, and I will have lessons in driving it and managing it.  A lot to learn.

I am looking forward to living in my “tiny house” – at least I will be able to save some money and travel a little.  It will be interesting.

Without house work, and with only a tiny “room” to manage, I am hoping I will have more time to write – and complete some of my projects.  It is going to be a big change.

I will remain in my unit until the end of April, and then set off on my next journey, though stay around Beachmere for a while.