I recently spent some quality time with 4 girlfriends who I went to school with. Of these 4, one lost her mother when she was a child, one has just recently lost her mother from a short and devastating bout of cancer and 3 of us are fortunate to still have our mothers in our lives.
My mother is 88 years strong and admittedly, after a traumatic couple of years of falls and brain bleeds, is becoming more fragile and slowing down.
My mother is fortunate in a lot of ways. When she sold the family home on East Point Rd, she had the opportunity to move into a small bedsit under my sister’s house. It was meant to be a temporary move until she got herself something else. However it quickly turned into a permanent arrangement for which we, as a family, are very grateful to Dallas and her family for allowing that to happen. My nephew lives at home and is now Mum’s carer.
Taking Mum out to complete simple tasks like going to the bank or going to lunch has reinforced for me how important it is that we plan for an ageing population. As Lord Mayor, my schedule is extremely busy, but making time to have lunch with Mum on a regular basis is a top priority.
Last year Council endorsed the World Health Organisation’s Age Friendly Cities Guidelines. While Council does not have development consent and planning approval delegation, we have advocated that the NT Government adopt these guidelines to assist their decision making. We are mindful of the issues highlighted in these guidelines and of the advice we receive from our Accessibility and Inclusion Advisory Committee.
One of the primary things Mum complains about would be being bored. Having something to do during our twilight years is vitally important. This is where City of Darwin Programs such as Healthy Living, which offers low cost experiences like yoga, and the Seniors Program at the Libraries, are such essential community engagement activities.
In recent years I have personally sponsored COTANT (Council on The Ageing NT) events such as their Seniors Fashion show and this year I am working with them once again on the monthly Morning Teas. I have also always enjoyed supporting the Chung Wah’s Seniors Group, a group that has been run by the amazing Melanie Chin for so many years.
One of the many roles I have been asked to undertake is that of Ambassador for Alzheimers Australia NT. This is a role that has allowed me to learn more about the various Brain illnesses such as Dementia and Alzheimers. While a lot is still not known about these diseases, it is important that we continue to do research as well as education. Alzheimers Australia has some great resources so check out their website.
Our seniors are an important asset to our community, and Darwin is richer for their presence.