Youngcare has welcomed the announcement of a Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety as an opportunity to shine a much-needed spotlight on young Australians with disabilities living in residential aged care settings.
Youngcare was the first organisation to call attention to the issue of young people, aged 18-65, being left behind in inappropriate and unacceptable housing, such as aged care, when the national not-for-profit was formed in 2005.
According to Youngcare CEO Anthony Ryan, the lack of age-appropriate, dignified care has only compounded over the years, with more than 6,200 Australians under the age of 65 now living in residential aged care.
“This Royal Commission presents an opportunity to shape a national solution for young people with high care needs,” he said.
“Youngcare believes every young Australian with high-care needs deserves to live in age-appropriate housing and lead a life of independence, dignity and choice. We look forward to working with the government and private sector to identify and provide pathways for young people currently living in aged care and give them a suitable place to call home.”
Youngcare sees the Royal Commission as a positive step in identifying the complex challenges experienced by young people with disabilities living in residential aged care.
Youngcare resident Jamie-Lee Dwyer, who has Friedreich’s Ataxia (a rare degenerative neuro muscular disorder) has expressed her frustration at the prospect of living in aged care in an open letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, following the announcement of the Royal Commission.
“One of the biggest issues facing young Australians with high care needs is age-appropriate housing that meets individual needs. Just because I have a condition that’s beyond my control I don’t think I should have to give up my independence, privacy and choice, or relinquish my dignity,” Ms Dwyer wrote.
“No one should be forced to live according to someone else’s rules because of their disability. Offering young Aussies with high-needs disabilities a choice in how they want to live their life is what Youngcare offers their residents, and I believe it should be the standard of care for all high-needs disability housing nationwide.”