Great family forum last night helping our families and carers understand and prepare for the NDIS! Our forum tonight in Dandenong has been oversubscribed (a 2nd Dandenong date is being arranged) and then we are on again tomorrow night in Pakenham.
It’s clear from talking to our families that there are many questions and some anxiety which is all to be expected with such a big change. But we take it slowly and this is the first phase of more forums to help them understand how they can prepare for their assessment interview.
It’s also a wonderful opportunity for our families to share stories and hear from others, which is often the best part. From a quick chat with one family last night it made me realise again that for many families accommodation is such an important issue. Where will my family member live when I am no longer able to support them at home? How do I help prepare them for that move by building their independent living skills? When is the right time?
As we discussed at the forums, under an NDIS our clients (who are called participants in the NDIS) will have their own funding packages so people will have more freedom to pool their funding and live with people they choose. So families who know each other can get together and combine their funding to come up with a solution that suits their needs. In terms of support for the residents, there could be some natural supports (eg from volunteers or other family members) or paid supports from a provider like Wallara.
Wallara supports approx. 50 residents across 9 homes where 4, 5 or 6 residents share a home and we also supports clients in 3 independent units. The homes all have a staff member sleeping over at night, our staff are doing shifts 7 days a week and each resident has a Plan and goals and our staff are supporting them in the home. Residents in the independent units don’t need this level of care and might only have a few hours each week where we help with banking, shopping or cooking. Our 3 units are located at our Potter St site and residents pay subsidised rent to the owner which is a not profit Housing Association. So our staff provide the support and the Housing Association takes care of maintenance etc.
We expect lots more creative living arrangements to come with an NDIS as families team up and also use their own resources. Some families are planning to buy a unit near where they live. I hope my daughter lives with us at home for many years to come but I know at some point the best thing for everyone is for her to move out. And when that time comes I would love her to be sharing with 1 or 2 friends with all the families involved helping each other out and a Service like Wallara providing the support in the home, keeping everyone safe and keeping the skill development going.
Wallara has some great programs for building independent living skills (just call our Intake team for details or visit our website) and there are some other great courses we know about that we can connect our families to.
I look forward to talking to and learning from more families at the other forums this week and in the months ahead.