Younger People with Disability in Residential Aged Care Initiative

Did you know that almost 4,000 Australians under the age of 65 are living in permanent residential aged care, and some of these people are as young as 45? These Australians have found themselves in nursing homes because suitable settings have not been available to meet their needs. Living in residential aged care as a younger person often results in social isolation, disconnection from community, increases in poor mental health outcomes, and even deterioration of their physical health.

On 25th of November 2019, the Australian Prime Minister announced that the government is working to stop the flow of younger people (under the age of 65) going into residential aged care, and to help move young people already living in aged care to age-appropriate accommodation and support. 

The Government established a Joint Agency Taskforce between the Department of Social Services, Department of Health and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). The Taskforce has established the Younger People in Residential Aged Care Strategy 2020–2025.

In February 2022, changes were made to the aged care assessment pathway for younger people wanting to access Australian Government-funded aged care services. These changes make sure that young people will have support to explore other accommodation and support options more suitable to their care needs. This also includes supporting young people to assess their eligibility for the  (NDIS).  

Judith’s story

After suffering from a stroke over 23 years ago, Judy ended up in an aged care nursing facility. She was in her early forties at the time and felt she didn’t really belong.  She didn’t identify with the other people living in the aged care facility, she didn’t engage in activities and as a result she lost track of the outside world.

Today Judy lives in her home that is a Specialist Disability Accommodation Apartment with Supported Independent Living Supports in Sydney.  With the support of Nextt, she has regained her confidence; is much more independent and feels in control of the choices she makes in her own home.  Visit our ‘Client Stories’ page to see more about Judy’s story.

What these changes mean for you

According to Ellen Perkins, General Manager Business Development for Nextt, these changes are a positive step forward.  They will help to ensure that younger people with disability can access appropriate supports and that they will be able to live independently in accommodation settings that better suit their needs.

“Many people with disability are simply not aware that alternative housing options are available to them or the process to access this housing is incredibly complex and cumbersome,” Ellen said.  “They may have ended up in aged care as that may have been the only option available at the time.  However, there are a growing number of housing options available, including options that allow people with disability to live independently in their own home, or to share accommodation with others.  These include Specialist Disability Accommodation with Supported Independent Living Services, Independent Living Options as well as some supports that are available under Core Supports funding.”

Ellen said that it was best to check with your Support Coordinator to apply for these types of funding under your NDIS plan review.  You will need allied health evidence such as an OT assessment to determine the level of support you need and whether you’re eligible for these types of funding.

How Nextt can help

If you are currently under the age of 65 and living in permanent residential aged care, or if you’d like to find out more about disability service options that better meet your needs, please contact Nextt on 1300 369 568

If you don’t currently have a support coordinator, we may be able to provide you with one who can support you to maximise the benefits of your NDIS plan.  Or we can work with you and your current support coordinator to explore different disability housing options that are available.