The differences, the similarities and deciding which one is right for you
Choosing the right care for yourself or your loved ones can be a very stressful situation. Deciding between Aged Care or Disability Care for people aged 65 years or more depends on the person’s circumstances and health. While Disability Care and Aged Care are historically separate systems, as people with disabilities are living longer thanks to improvements in care and available support, they are also needing aged care services.
While disability services and aged care services can often provide similar types of services to clients, disability services are generally not well equipped to manage the conditions and symptoms of ageing, and aged care services are generally not able to meet the specific support needs of people living with disability.
Disability and Aged Care
Care organisations for both groups have many shared goals, so drawing the boundaries between the two systems is often not entirely straightforward. Both aim to preserve the dignity of their clients, help them to maintain mobility, ensure the personal care needs are met, provide access to adequate aids and appliances, and explore any opportunities for rehabilitation. Yet there are also significant differences between the two services’ goals, aims, and specific services available to care recipients.
Providing access to tools and services that enable people with additional needs to live more independently has been an incredibly positive move for disability care. The NDIS supports provision of, and funds access to, homes that are integrated into the community, modified vehicles, physical assistance, allied health care services and communication devices, to assist them to achieve their goals and live a purposeful life.
- Enablement – helping clients to be active members of society over their future lifetime, shifting from dependent support arrangements to independent ones, instead of continuing the past support arrangements that have the effect of encouraging the differently-abled person to become a passive care recipient, and reducing their sense of independence and autonomy and diminishing their feelings of power and control over their situation and day-to-day life.
- Integration – encouraging clients to engage in the community, attend events, do their shopping, and perform everyday tasks with minimum assistance or alone. Over the years there has been a shift from institutional-based care to a community-based care model. Under this model, special disability accommodation options have been created to encourage greater self-care and a stronger sense of self-determination.
- Jobs – helping clients find jobs that align with their interests, passions, and capabilities, as well as their NDIS plan goals, that they want to try out in safe and respectful environments. Anti-discrimination laws and a societal push towards affirmative action mean that these are genuine jobs that the clients enjoy.
- Social Relationships – encouraging friendships, facilitating outings, and assisting clients to engage with other people outside of their respective homes or care facilities.
- Autonomy – one of the main goals of the aged care system and the support services they provide is to minimise the rate of loss of autonomy of the client, recognising that they have come from living a full life and may be worried that they’ll lose what they still have.
- Personal Links – encouraging friends and family to visit as much as possible and holding social events for clients to get to know each other.
- Family Support – while living independently from family carers may not be feasible, aged care facilities encourage family members to continue to be an active part of their elderly loved one’s life after they enter a residential care facility.
- Social Networks – preserving the client’s social networks can be a challenge but is important as we age. Many aged care facilities see friends choosing the same place to be close to each other. When that’s not possible it is then a case of providing opportunities for the elderly person to make new friends to help them feel less alone and isolated.
The Australian Government’s Productivity Commission recognises that the kinds and persistence of disability in the system is more varied than in the aged care system, which requires a greater range of responses. A large mix of conditions and co-morbidities, intellectual capabilities, complex behaviours, and support requirements affect the level of care and support needed by people living with disability. Meanwhile, difficulty in performing daily tasks is more commonly seen in older people as access to transport and health care, completion of household chores, meal prep, and property maintenance are more heavily affected by the increasing physical frailty that occurs as we age.
Which is right for you?
Government-funded aged care services currently available include in-home care, nursing homes, and respite care, however those not eligible for government-subsidised care may need to access far more costly privately-funded care. Retirement homes or villages are another option to consider, if you don’t need the higher level of care the other services focus on. For more information visit health.gov.au
With the current push on ageing in place, the Federal Government’s Aged Care packages provide funding for in-home aged care supports and services, to allow the older person to remain in their chosen residence for as long as they can. A range of different funding packages are available, and applications are considered on a case-by-case basis according the extent of the assistance they are deemed to require.
If in-home care sounds like an option that may suit your or your elderly, differently-abled loved one’s needs, it may help to contact a registered provider of both Aged Care and NDIS Disability Support Services, who can assist you to navigate both systems and work out the right option for your unique needs. Organisations such as ConnectAbility Australia are excellent sources of information and assistance, and their Support Co-ordinators can connect you or your loved one with a variety of services and supports
Disability care is more focused on home-based care these days, though there are residential aged care homes that provide both aged care and disability services and accommodation. Many providers of disability services run their own group homes, or can assist the elderly client to find suitable disability accommodation, so it can be helpful to talk to a registered NDIS service provider about the most appropriate type of service for your unique needs and what kind of supports are available to you through your NDIS package.
Funding and support for managing disability care in your own home is available to eligible individuals via the NDIS, for things like in-home care, additional supports, extra help around the home, or home modifications. Again, it can be helpful to talk to a registered provider of NDIS disability supports and aged care services, like ConnectAbility, who can help connect you to carers and provide support when needed.
ConnectAbility can help you to find out more about which disability supports and aged care services best suit your needs
ConnectAbility Australia strives to empower, respect, and provide opportunities to all our clients, and to provide flexible, person-centred disability and aged care support services. We want our clients to continue to enjoy life and maintain their connection with family, friends, and local community – regardless of their age or disability.
ConnectAbility Australia provides a wide range of in-home aged care support services and Home Care Packages. Our Aged Care Information & Service Assistance advisory service can help you navigate the Aged Care system, offering advice and assistance with everything from arranging an Aged Care Assessment (ACAT) to accessing respite care and connecting with support groups.
No matter what stage you’re in, ConnectAbility are here to help you or your loved ones access the services and supports you need. Whether you’re looking for NDIS Case Coordination, Aged Care services, or Disability Support, please call us on 02 4962 1000 (Newcastle) or 02 4349 3700 (Central Coast). Alternatively, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our contact form to have a ConnectAbility representative contact you.