We first met Daniel almost a decade ago, when he lived in a nursing home. Last year, Daniel moved into his own SDA apartment.
Tell us about yourself
I’m 57 years old and have cerebral palsy. I’m a Richmond Tigers fan and in my earlier days was passionate about martial arts. I love spending time with my family, friends and, of course, my cats. I’m passionate about my advocacy work and hope it improves other people’s lives.
How long did you live in aged care and group homes before you got SDA approval?
I lived in aged care for 5¼ years and it took a member of parliament to get me out of there. I was 48 when I went into aged care – the youngest person there. I then moved to a group home with 6 people and I was the 6th person so I was down the totem pole. One of the reasons I moved there was because my close friend was there. I got to meet the other people and I did make another good friend there. The hardest parts about living in a group home were the provider didn’t listen to my problems; I didn’t have a choice over the support workers I had; and there were continual staff shortages. I had no choice and control there.
What has moving into your own SDA meant for you?
It’s been a bit nervous because it’s the first time I’ve been totally on my own. Before I had lived with my wife, I only understand now how much work she did behind the scenes. InLife the provider has been great. I started moving at 4.30 in the afternoon and they stayed with me until 1am helping me settle in. I have a great support team now – it means the world to me, I get to make my own decisions and choices, especially when it comes to food. At the group home you just had to fit in with other people’s dietary requirements.
What is the best thing about your life now?
I’m able to make my own choices. My personal care is now looked after – I used to put others before myself. It is starting to feel like home. My nephews, family and friends are all able to come and visit – they don’t have to sign in!
What is your message to other younger people wanting to move out of aged care?
Aged care is not for everyone. It fits some people, but younger people shouldn’t even be given aged care as a choice. Be patient, try and do the best you can to get out of there to get into a better situation. Have good supports around you and look for the right home to suit you best. Everyone has different needs.
This profile is featured in the Summer Foundation’s 2022 Annual Report. You can read the full report here.
If you would like to share your experience, please contact us on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out our other stories from people with lived experience of disability here