On Wednesday, 16 May NSW Minister for Disability Services, the Hon. Andrew Constance officially opened Lake Haven Accommodation House, Northcott Disability Services’ first-of-its-kind home in the Riverina/Murray region.
“Lake Haven is a purpose built, fully equipped and accessible home which will provide residents who previously lived in an aged care facility, with a new lease on life in a community based setting,” said Minister Constance.
“The home allows younger people with disability to interact with peers of a similar age, provides greater community access and allows residents to take control of their lives and make their own choices.”
Young people living in aged care is an extremely serious societal issue. Statistics released from the 2010 National Disability Agreement revealed that 7,500 young Australians with high care needs are living in aged care – simply because there are very limited alternatives.
Northcott’s new Lake Haven Accommodation House in Wagga Wagga aims to combat this, and will be the first of many homes to be opened by the not-for-profit, particularly in regional communities where this specialised support is often lacking.
Aged care facilities are not appropriate settings for young people with disabilities, such as Kerrie, as they are set-up for end-of-life care, lack age-appropriate activities, and often leave the young person feeling isolated as they are surrounded by much older people.
“I was in a nursing home for three to four years. I wasn’t very happy there. I’d look forward to every Thursday when I had someone come by to take me down the road just to get out for a bit,” shared 42-year-old Kerrie, who lives with multiple sclerosis and moved into Northcott’s Lake Haven Accommodation House three months ago.
“It’s good here. The housemates are easy to get along with. We even get the chance to boss each other around because it’s such a laid back place where you can say what you want with friends. I’m happier too because my son, who’s in year seven, gets to visit a lot more. He’s only ten minutes away now and he rides over in the afternoons when he can.”
Residents like Kerrie will gain greater independence in their new home, which was designed in consultation with them, from attending site inspections and choosing colour schemes, right through to structural design. Direct support workers employed by Northcott will also be available to offer support to the residents 24 hours a day.
Lake Haven Accommodation House was made possible by a $1.6 million capital grant provided by NSW Ageing, Disability and Home Care, Department of Family and Community Services (ADHC).
For more, click here to view the Prime 7 News story on the house opening.