Suitable Care Needed for Disabled Young

Jock Watson spent most of his 20s in a nursing home after a car accident left him with an acquired brain injury, meaning he needed constant care.

While fellow residents tried to engage the young man in their bingo games and sing-a-longs, it was an isolating experience.

”He spent much of his time in his own room,” said his mother Jane Watson.

”For Jock it was looking out on a world which is not reflective of his normal milieu. He was with people 60 years his senior. There were no activities for younger people because the nursing homes aren’t set up to provide those services. They are there to nurse people.”

Mr Watson, 30, recently moved into supported accommodation for the disabled in Caringbah where residents are closer to his age. ”It’s a significant improvement on the aged care facility, just … having younger people around him,” Ms Watson said. ”A nursing home is for people who are at the end of their lives.”

But age-appropriate accommodation is in short supply and more than 7500 young Australians with disabilities live in residential aged care.

While they will receive funding under the national disability insurance scheme, DisabilityCare Australia, the peak group representing them has raised concerns about whether there will be suitable accommodation available when the scheme starts in 2018-19.

Youngcare general manager Anna Cox believes DisabilityCare Australia will only solve one part of the problem.

”It will put a funding package in everyone’s hands that is sufficient to get them out of aged care and to find themselves more appropriate accommodation,” she said. ”Worst case scenario, there’s a cheque in everyone’s hand, off they go, where do they go? They’ll be left in aged care.”

Youngcare estimates about one-third of younger people in aged care might return to live with their families with the support of funding from DisabilityCare Australia, leaving 5000 people needing age appropriate accommodation.

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Accessibility, Access, Inclusion, Housing, Accommodation, Tenancy

Rachel Browne

The Age

Date published:
Mon 24th Jun, 2013