Many young people in aged care 'lose hope'

Call for change so under-65s with disabilities not forced into aged care


Aged Care Royal Commission
About 6000 people aged under-65 are living in residential aged care facilities in Australia.

About 6000 people aged under-65 are living in residential aged care facilities in Australia.

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Aged care royal commission will hear from people who are living in residential aged care in Melbourne hearing.

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MANY younger people who end up in nursing homes lose hope that they will ever be able to leave, advocates say.

Advocacy groups hope the aged care royal commission will help prevent younger people with disability who have high or complex care needs ending up in nursing homes and find ways to get them out.

They argue systemic changes are needed to ensure people with disabilities who are under-65 are not forced into and stuck in aged care.

The Summer Foundation CEO Luke Bo'sher said many people became depressed and socially isolated in aged care, while their ability to live independently was also reduced.

"Many people kind of lose hope of being able to ever leave aged care," he told AAP.

"For someone who has been in aged care for a period of time it's very challenging to get out of aged care because their support needs increase significantly and their mental health declines."

The royal commission will hear directly from a number of people who are living in, or have lived in, residential aged care during a hearing that begins in Melbourne on Monday.

The inquiry will also examine whether a federal government action plan announced in March can succeed in reducing the number of younger people living in aged care facilities.

A key issue is a lack of suitable housing and support options, including appropriate complex health supports.

Young People In Nursing Homes National Alliance director Bronwyn Morkham said the National Disability Insurance Scheme provided the supports and funding for services, but there was nowhere for people to go.

"Before the NDIS came along there was nowhere to go and no funding to go with it. They were literally forgotten and left, for many, many years in many cases," Dr Morkham told AAP.

"But what we don't have yet is the type of housing and the models of care to go with them that these young people need."

Dr Morkham said there needed to be a system response to the problem that brought together the NDIS, health and housing services.

"We've got a system problem here and it's a system response we need, not just disability," she said.

"We're really looking to the commission to interrogate this issue and recommend the types of reforms that we think are needed to finally put this issue to bed once and for all, and not have younger people moving into residential aged care facilities any more."

About 6000 people aged under 65 are living in residential aged care facilities in Australia.

Australian Associated Press

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