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Finding a better alternative to aged care

New NDIS commissioner Tracy Mackey visited residents who have moved from aged care to Supported Disability Accommodation (SDA) in regional Victoria.

InLife client Mel spent a year in aged care before moving into Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA).

New NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner Tracy Mackey visited Mel’s new apartment in Ballarat last week.

She toured the SDA, built and run by Adaptive Housing, which includes five apartments for people with disability and met with residents including Mel.

Mel is supported 24/7 by a team of InLife support workers to live in her own apartment.

Her parents said that in aged care Mel, now aged 30, had gone backwards.

Having her own home and team of support workers has made a big impact.

“She’s just blossomed since she’s been here, it's such a huge difference - medically she’s been much more stable,” her Dad Jim says.

The SDA complex, architecturally designed with wheelchair users in mind, has a seven star energy rating wirth solar panels and Tesla batteries to support the underfloor heating.

This means there are no utility bills for residents.

Adaptive Housing managing director Zarina Tremellen said the complex had taken 12 months to build and was equipped to house five high-care residents.

She said four people had moved into the SDA from aged care.

Each individual apartment has a brightly coloured door, often chosen by the resident, and the interiors are decorated to reflect the occupant’s personality.

Mel’s apartment is decorated with family photos and large colourful pieces of her own artwork.

Each one also has its own garden/outdoor area (one resident has a huge unicorn mural on her outside wall) and there is a communal area for BBQs and pizza nights.

“We want to provide quality accommodation and allow a resident to personalise it and tailor it to their needs," Zarina said.

“It’s a privilege to be able to provide and build bespoke properties for people.”

InLife CEO David Clarke said it was fantastic to see what could be achieved with the right mix of support and high-quality accommodation.

“As an organisation we support getting young people out of aged care,” he said.

“We match our support workers to our clients and since Mel has been able to live in her own home while also getting one-on-one support, it has made a big difference to her life.”

Read Mel’s story here.