Three disability advocacy groups — Synapse, Youngcare and the Summer Foundation — have penned a letter to National Disability Insurance Minister Bill Shorten, Aged Care Minister Anika Wells and Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth, to address growing concerns of young Australians living with disability being placed into aged care.
According to Government data:
- 99 people under the age of 65 were admitted into permanent residential aged care between April – June, 2022.
- 68 people under the age of 45 were living in permanent residential aged care, as of June 30, 2022.
- 2,934 people under the age of 65 were living in permanent residential aged care, as of June 30, 2022.
As per the recommendations made by the Royal Commission, the Government intends to have no young people in aged care by 2025, but without a clear plan, advocates are worried that this commitment will not be met. Despite decreasing rates of younger people living in residential aged care across the board, the band of groups representing people living with disability has cautioned the Government, according to The Australian.
“We are asking the Albanese government to take the lead in resolving this issue once and for all [and…] announce a timeline for getting all young people out of aged care in Australia and preventing new entrants,” writes the collective.
The National Director of Strategy and Engagement for Synapse Adam Schickerling tells The Australian that professionals are “accepting people into aged care inappropriately.”
According to Mr Schickerling, the issue of residential aged care for younger people is systemic, stemming from discharge from hospital or a lack of appropriate accommodation. He says that decreases in rates of people living with disability entering into aged care were due to people crossing the 65 year old threshold or passing away.
“We know there are dozens of young people entering aged care each month and that there are still a number of young people under 45 living in aged care. Significantly, of the close to 3,000 young people in aged care, only 39 younger people moved out to specialist disability accommodation in 2021/22,” writes the Summer Foundation, in an open statement.
Notably, the three groups expressing their concern are worried about the prior Government not meeting the two targets outlined in the Younger People in Residential Aged Care Strategy 2020–25:
- No people under the age of 65 entering residential aged care by 2022
- No people under the age of 45 living in residential aged care by 2022
The Government plans to invest over $910 million dollars over four years to improve the operations of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Quality and Safeguards Commission.
The Disability Support for Older Australians program will be extended and made ongoing with $487 million in funding over four years. Older people with disabilities will benefit from disability services which they can receive at home and in their communities.
The three groups touch upon a growing concern of special disability accommodation (SDA) which is of particular concern in South Australia.
Emma Hocking, Chief Executive Officer of SDA Smart Homes says that the proposed crackdown will be welcomed, but funding cuts would be a disaster given the current rental and housing markets.
“For many people in South Australia who qualify for SDA accommodation, they have nowhere else to go other than public hospitals or nursing and aged care accommodation in South Australia because of their need for 24 hour care,” says Ms Hocking.