When Karen (not her real name) came to one of our Royal Commission workshops she had no idea of the possibilities that were about to open up to her.
A disability advocate told Karen about the workshop, which supported her to tell the Royal Commission about her experiences during 15 years in aged care. Karen had a fall when she was 46, leaving her with complex support needs.
“When I went into aged care I wanted to do some physio and speech therapy but nobody would help me,” Karen said in her submission to the Royal Commission. “I wanted to exercise and do some rehabilitation to improve myself. I was given no encouragement at all to help myself. They told me they were there for old people and not for rehabilitation.
“I taught myself a little bit about the computer. I wanted to learn more things. A lovely yardman fashioned a pointer for me out of an old pool cue and made splints for my hands out of old paddle pop sticks. He helped me to get Wi-Fi. A couple of years ago they told me I could not have my own Wi-Fi anymore. They took away the only control I had over anything in my day.”
Coming to the workshop gave Karen the chance to talk about these experiences. “Aged care homes are for old people. It feels so good to tell my story,” she said.
But that was just the beginning.
Staff at the workshop recognised the potential for Karen’s life to be so much better. They told her about a new specialist disability accommodation (SDA) development in the area and the Tenant Matching Service has supported her to apply for the SDA funding in her NDIS plan that would allow her to seek more appropriate housing.
“I am hoping beyond hope my time at the nursing home is nearing the end … I do so appreciate this opportunity of a lifetime and pray I get the NDIS funding,” she said.