Soaring high at 86 – age no barrier to living a great life

Dallas Laing is soaring high at 86. The Bundaberg resident for half a century is proof you can live a great life regardless of your age. But he admits to live life to the fullest you may need a little help.

Mr Laing, an ultra-light pilot and president of the Burnett Miniature Aircraft Inc., is typical of the greying of Australia’s population. Like 500,000 older Australians Dallas is a recipient of an Australian Government Department of Social Services Home Care Package.

“I took up flying in my 70s and built a tandem-seat Hughes LightWing Pocket Rocket 582 in my garage. I only stopped flying it a few years ago and now I stick to the radio-controlled aeroplanes. A lot of people my age don’t want to admit they need someone to help them in their lives. They think it’s an admission that life is catching up with you,” Dallas says. “But I say ‘you only get one life so enjoy it while you can’.”

In December the national Aged Care Approvals Round tender results were released showing record competition for Home Care packages. For every one of the 6,653 packages released there were 17 applications from community, private and not-for-profit aged-care providers. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show the number of people aged 85 years and over has increased by 156% over the past two decades, reflecting an increase in life expectancy, especially in women.

The government financial assistance Dallas receives provides five hours a week of “life services” from a Carinity Lifestyle Consultant – a companion and carer. Proactive care providers like Carinity, an outreach of Queensland Baptists, are responding to the reforming consumer driven market with tailored relationship services.

Dallas has been a client of Carinity’s in-home services for 20 months and enjoys the flexibility of his care package which goes well beyond the traditional services. Dallas can choose the type of care he needs, from domestic assistance to social support which enables him to embrace the things he loves such as flying model aeroplanes.

“I live a great life and have never been busier. I am the president in Aero Modellers Club and a life member of the Isis Flying Club, I love gardening and working on and flying model planes,” says Dallas.

“But I can’t drive and so it’s difficult for me to do grocery shopping, attend medical appointments or enjoy an outing. I like to get out of the house and go for a coffee but most of all I love flying my model planes and it’s lovely to have someone to do that with. Jan from Carinity helps me to enjoy these things.

“I was born on 23 June 1928 in Maryborough – that’s the day Bert Hinkler landed at the Maryborough Show Grounds a few blocks from my house. I always say I was delivered by Bert Hinkler rather than the Stork,” Dallas chuckles.

Carinity won 98 new home-care packages this month in the annual Age Care Approvals Round, representing 10% of Queensland’s total allocation. Twenty five of these packages are in the Wide Bay region which includes Bundaberg and Maryborough.

Carinity’s In-Home Care Manager Robyn Jones believes the organisation’s customer-focus on “great living” is the key to its success.

“What makes Carinity different is our Lifestyle Consultants are like an extended family member. We collaborate with our clients and their family members to ensure clients live fulfilling lives,” Robyn says.

“Through our ‘Carinity Me’ program we have helped clients cook dinner parties, taken them on picnics, to the theatre and we’ll even go fishing or flying with them. It’s all about enablement. The face of in-home care is changing from task-orientated to goal-orientated care and we are excited about the options this gives clients.”

Carinity celebrated 65 years of aged-care experience in 2014. The organisation’s success in the recent Age Care Approvals Round means Carinity is able to help more people with in-home care packages. Carinity can organise an Aged Care Assessment Test to find out if you or a relative qualify for In-Home Care.

For more information call Robyn on 0403 252 365.

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