Able un-able to continue

The closure of Able Australia's aged care and emergency relief services in southeast Queensland is expected to impact hundreds of clients in Lowood and surrounding areas. Picture: FILE

Able Australia has pledged to help find a replacement for its aged care services in southeast Queensland ahead of their 30 September shutdown.

About 500 clients, 130 volunteers and 18 paid staff in Lowood, Ipswich, Jimboomba, and Southport are impacted by the announcement.

Able revealed its aged care services had been running at a loss of more than $2.2 million since 2018, due to rising costs of items like fuel and electricity.

The not-for-profit announced in early May it would be shutting down its Commonwealth Home Support Programme funded initiatives including community transport, individual and group support, Meals on Wheels, and equipment and assistive technology.

Other services impacted include the Active Living Program for Seniors and emergency relief.

The Active Living Program for Seniors has been active in the Ipswich and Somerset communities with several Aged Care Package Information Sessions still scheduled throughout the year, alongside the popular Movement to Music program in Lowood and the Lasting Letters program in both Rosewood and Esk.

In a statement, Able acknowledged ‘there may be concerns about the continuity of these services to the community’.

“It is the responsibility of the Department of Child Safety, Seniors and Disability Services to appoint and transition the [Active Living Program for Seniors] service to a provider that the Department deems appropriate,” the statement said.

“While the decision to appoint a new service provider remains the responsibility of the Departments concerned, Able would welcome a confidential conversation with any prospective providers.

“Able will actively work to ensure that clients experience minimal disruption and will be working with the Department of Health and Aged Care as they seek to find an alternative provider.

“We will continue to provide disability supports in South East Queensland, including supported independent living and positive behaviour support services funded through the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Disability Support for Older Australians.”

Dennis Ryan volunteers as a transport driver for Able’s elderly and disabled clients in Jimboomba and surrounding areas and described the closure as a ‘shock’.

“We’ve got clients who are over 100 years old… you really have to worry for these people,” Mr Ryan said.

“They’ve already organised their needs over a period of many years and a lot of them wouldn’t have the faintest idea how they’re going to cope after this.

Mr Ryan said other volunteers were ‘heartbroken’.

“They’re not worried about themselves, because they volunteer, but what’s going to happen to all these people that we’ve come to know and love?” he said.