Moving out of a nursing home? Here’s what to think about

Last updated


With the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) it is now easier than ever for people with disability to receive the support they need to live in their own home in the community.

Key points

  • Moving out of a nursing home and into a supported home in the community can be a big change for younger people with disability
  • Take your time to plan out the move and make sure you are comfortable with everything
  • You can get support from lots of different people to help with the move, including family, friends, support workers and dedicated expert officers funded by the Government

However there are still hundreds of Australians with disability under the age of 65 living in aged care homes and there is a push to change that, intending to improve the lives of those people.

When you decide on moving out of the nursing home here’s what to think about.

Tips for planning your move

Consider the care you receive in residential aged care and what supports you will need to continue or add to your support roster in your new home.

This could include services for:

  • personal care
  • medication management
  • shopping and meal preparation
  • a companion for outings
  • continence management
  • transport assistance

Even if you’ve never used emergency support in the nursing home you will need an arrangement for emergency support in your new home, as it is unlikely there will be workers on standby in your building, complex or street.

SomeSupported Disability Accommodation (SDA) developments may have a concierge you can contact in an emergency or you might be able to arrange for someone to check on you regularly each day.

Arranging your supports ahead of time can help to give you a sense of confidence that you will have everything you need, and can also help you to be comfortable with your new routine, as you may have grown used to a regimented routine in the aged care facility.

Finding a new home

Accessibility of the home you are looking at is important, for you and your support workers. Accessibility is not just about the layout of the home though, it’s also about the location.

Consider where your new home is placed – are there good paths connecting it to accessible transport, are there activities you like to do nearby, is it close enough for you to visit your family and friends?

Visit the home you are considering to picture your lifestyle there and to think about what furniture and other items you will need.

Don’t settle for any kind of housing, make sure you have what you want. For example, if you want to live in SDA and should be eligible, but the NDIA comes back saying you can only live in a group home, be confident to challenge that decision and fight for the SDA.


You will need to make sure NDIS funding is in place for you to pay for the supports you will need, assistive technology, therapy and any home modifications required.

Most people moving out of aged care won’t be on the NDIS yet, so will have to start from scratch with applying for funding. To apply you can call the NDIS on 1800 800 110 or submit an Access Request Form. Once your application is approved a Local Area Coordinator can guide you through the process of setting up your first plan.

The Australian Government has also put extra funding into theYounger People in Residential Aged Care (YPIRAC) System Coordinator Program. These coordinators can help you understand what options are available to you, how to apply for and access the NDIS, and help you to arrange the accommodation and supports you need to move out of residential aged care.

Have a goal in your NDIS plan to move out so that you can receive any other specific supports you might need to have funded, such as help from a support coordinator to arrange your new lifestyle.

Your support team

A major part of planning your move is having a group of people around you who can help – you don’t have to do everything by yourself and it might be important to get others involved.

Your support team can be made up of family, friends, therapists, specialists and even support workers which will be working with you once you move into your new home.

Talk to the people you already have around you to see how they might be able to help.

Your family members might be able to help you pack boxes or store furniture you have bought until it is time to move in.

Occupational therapists can be very helpful in visiting the home you have chosen and making sure it meets your accessibility requirements – for example, checking that cupboards, benchtops and rails are at the right height and doorways are wide enough.

You might also be able to ask other people with disability that you know if they can recommend service providers, support coordinators or others you can contact.

Try to find support workers that you get along with well and trust, that listen to you so that they can provide the best support.

Fill your support team with people who respect you and your preferences, are honest with you, encourage you, empower you to make your own decisions and with who you feel comfortable discussing your feelings.

Advocacy organisations and disability representative organisations may also be able to support you or connect you to other people with similar experiences of moving out of a nursing home, so you can talk about it together.

For example, if you have Multiple Sclerosis, theMS Society of Australia could be a helpful place to go for advice or emotional support.

Tips for moving day

Think about how you will manage your stress when the moving day finally arrives. You might want specific people to be there to support you, so make sure to ask if they’re available.

Don’t forget to organise your transport for moving day, booking ahead can help to alleviate stress and ensure you have an appropriate mode of transport.

Make a plan for when your household items will arrive so that people can be coordinated to help you move them in.

Do you need help putting furniture together or installing appliances or electronics such as a TV or computer?

If your new home is small, you might need to consider how many people can be there at a time unpacking boxes and moving furniture before it becomes too crowded.

Arrange for your support workers to start as soon as you need them – if you need someone to help you into bed on the night that you move in, you don’t want to be stuck in your wheelchair overnight because you forgot to book a support worker in for that night.

Of course, you don’t have to be completely moved in on the first day either, it might be easier or less stressful for you to just have the basics in your house on the first day and spend time getting used to moving around, using the home’s assistive technology and enjoying the space.

Are you considering moving out of aged care? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:
Understanding Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)
Finding an accessible house in Australia
Why should people with disability move out of nursing homes?