Home not just place to live

CALL OUT: Members Wilf Alcock, Joan Lyon, Marg McDowell, Noela Foreman, Jane Speirs, Meredith Nicks, Peter Foreman, Frances Russell and Kathryn Lyon.
Picture: PETER WEAVING

CALL OUT: Members Wilf Alcock, Joan Lyon, Marg McDowell, Noela Foreman, Jane Speirs, Meredith Nicks, Peter Foreman, Frances Russell and Kathryn Lyon. Picture: PETER WEAVING

Ageing carers call on writers to ponder the sense of belonging

A GROUP of ageing carers in Bendigo is calling on people to ponder their definition of home. 

The Quality Living Options group, established in 2012, believes all people should have a safe, secure and appropriate place to call home. 

The 40 members each have intellectually disabled children who they have been caring for for decades.

One member is in her mid-80s and has been widowed for many years, another is a single parent looking after her disabled daughter with emotional issues, some parents have more than one disabled children - and another mother lost her husband recently and suffers from serious health concerns.

The residents are fighting a parallel battle - to ensure a safe home for their children when they are gone.

Members have been told it could be 10 or 15 years before suitable accommodation in Bendigo becomes available - but they don’t have that long to wait.

So they are fundraising in all ways possible to help raise money for their children's futures while also encouraging debate about belonging. 

Member Noela Foreman said a short story competition, with $1000 up for grabs, will focus on the idea of belonging and safety. 

"A Place to Call Home is intended to inspire writers to think about what it means to belong somewhere," she said. 

"We don't want it to be about our kids finding a home - but rather about how important it is for us all to find a place of sanctuary, stimulation or whatever we most aspire to find."

(This) is intended to inspire writers to think about what it means to belong somewhere. - Noela Foreman

Mrs Foreman said it was a basic human right to have a place to belong. 

“It’s also a basic human right to age and look after yourself without having to look after your offspring and worry about what will happen to them," she said. 

The short story competition will run until October 20, with writers Peter Kenneally and Dianne Dempsey judging the entries. 

The winner will be announced at the Bendigo Goldfields Library on the International Day of People with a Disability on December 3. 

Entries can be lodged via the Quality Living Options website at www.qlo.org.au

People can also download a title sheet from the website and mail it with the story to Quality Living Options Bendigo, PO Box 1197, Bendigo Central, 3552.

Each entry costs $10. The word limit is 1500 words. 

Department of Human Services estimates more than 1000 people need shared support accommodation at any given time - with demand expected to grow by four to five per cent annually.

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