Why should people with disability move out of nursing homes?

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Across Australia, there are younger people with disability living in nursing homes because of the level of support they need. However, residents of nursing homes are generally much older, and there is a campaign to move younger people with disability, under the age of 65, into other supported homes in the community to improve their wellbeing and community participation.

Key points

  • Living in the community can improve wellbeing and access to more activities
  • Nursing homes are not designed to support younger people with disability to live their best lives
  • There is Government funded support to help you organise your move

You may find living in the community more suitable than living in aged care for a number of reasons, such as more choice in how you live, which are explained in more detail below.

And with the level of support available now is the time to look into the move, although it is your choice whether you do move out or stay in the nursing home.

Benefits of living in the community

If you transition to living in the community, you will be able to access supports funded under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Many younger people with disability who live in residential aged care facilities are likely to be eligible for funding for Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) under the NDIS.

This type of specialist housing is designed to be accessible for people who use wheelchairs or have a range of other mobility requirements, so that they can live as independently as possible in their home.

Aside from the home itself, you will be able to arrange a package of funding to pay for supports and services you need.

This includes support workers, therapists and specialists, as well as assistive technology costs.

You may have supports for:

  • Personal care
  • Mobility
  • Accessing transport
  • Accessing the community
  • Accessing activities
  • Shopping and meal preparation
  • Cleaning and maintaining your home
  • Household tasks such as laundry

With all of these services and supports you have input into what you need, what will work best for you, and choice over how you want to live.

You can also get help with support coordination, so you don’t have to manage everything on your own.

One of the major differences between care in a nursing home and support in the community is that your NDIS funding revolves around the goals you have and allows you to achieve more.

This might give you more satisfaction in life, more confidence, more self worth and the chance to keep learning and developing yourself, lifting your overall wellbeing.

The benefits of this kind of support to reach your goals include:

  • The ability to make choices about who provides your support and when
  • More flexibility in choosing how you want to spend your day, including when to eat and when to go to bed
  • More privacy
  • Your own space to decorate with things that reflect your personality and make you feel a sense of identity and individuality
  • More choice with what meals you want to eat
  • More independence
  • The possibility for more engagement with people your age in the community and others who share your hobbies and interests
  • More support to live the way you want to

When you consider where your new home might be there could also be the option of moving closer to your family and friends, allowing you to spend more time with them either at home or in the community.

The location may also give you more access to the activities you love to do and the hobbies you want to take part in, for example visiting markets or the beach, doing photography or participating in sports.

Government support

The Federal Government has a program which aims to assist younger people out of nursing homes and into living in the community – with all the supports they need to live safely, healthily and happily.

Young people in nursing homes can access support from specialist coordinators through the Younger People in Residential Aged Care (YPIRAC) coordinator program.

The program is linked to the Younger People in Residential Aged Care – Action Plan, which was prompted by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s final report, and has the following goals:

  • supporting those living in aged care aged under 45 to find alternative, age appropriate housing and supports by 2022, if it is their goal
  • supporting those living in aged care aged under 65 to find alternative, age appropriate housing and supports by 2025, if it is their goal
  • halving the number of younger people aged under 65 years entering aged care by 2025

To assist with these goals, the Government has put millions of dollars of funding into supporting people to move out of aged care.

There is also non-government support available if you need the help of advocates to move. These advocacy services are usually free and State or Territory based, for example, Aged and Disability Advocates Australia specialises in this area in Queensland and Disability Advocacy Victoria Inc supports all people with disability in Victoria.

You can use the Australian Government’s search page to find disability advocates in your area.

What else would you like to know about moving out of a nursing home? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:
Understanding Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)
Finding an accessible house in Australia
What is Support Independent Living (SIL)? Your questions answered
Individualised Living Options funding explained