Kristie was 39 when she moved out of her parent’s home, for the first time, into a new specialist disability accommodation apartment (SDA) in Sydney. She says since then, her independence has soared.
“Living at home with your parents at 39 is kind of sad,” Kristie says. “My parents are wonderful, but I felt a bit cramped, and I am sure they did too.”
Kristie says her apartment is in a great location and it gives her more choice and control over her life. She misses her parents, and they miss her, but the move has changed their relationship for the better.
“My parents are getting older and I was reluctant to ask them for things. Now they come over and we spend quality time together.”
“While my parents were always welcoming of my friends, I am better able to have adult relationships.”
“I can go on dates and have people over without feeling awkward. There is a great bar and cafes nearby where I can meet new people.”
“The public transport options are far better at my place than where my parents live. I am 100 metres from the disability friendly metro which I use to get to work and to get to catch-ups with friends.”
Only some of the apartments in Kristie’s complex are for people with a disability. She says that is important for her, and it helps to positively change community attitudes towards people with a disability.
“A lot of SDA housing still segregates people with a disability from the rest of the community. Here I am not just living with other people with disabilities.”
“Everyone in the community has a responsibility to improve independence for people with a disability – governments, businesses and people with and without a disability. This is easier if people with disability are not living out of sight of the rest of the community.”
Her apartment was built to NDIS platinum level for people needing high level support and customised to her needs. It is fully automated, compatible with voice technology and has power generation back-up. As Kristie is unable to use her arms and legs, this technology is vital.
A concierge is on hand for her and the other tenants with a disability. “But I don’t have carers around me all the time – I access support when I need it.”
Kristie works in community development for people with a disability. She welcomes the increasing diversity in housing options for people with a disability.
“As well as SDA, there are other accessible housing options which can be combined with in-home support.”
Kristie had been looking for places to live independently for a long time. Despite her knowledge of the disability sector, she benefitted from help from experienced support people to get SDA funding into her NDIS plan and access to supported independent living (SIL) funding.
Ask for help from people who understand the NDIS process – there is lots of support out there.