Some 100 leaders in the aged and disability sectors will converge in Canberra today for a one-day summit to plan for the needs of people with a disability as they age.
The national meeting is the first of its kind in Australia bringing together policymakers, academics, service providers, representatives from the National Disability Insurance Agency and people with disability to raise awareness of the issues facing this cohort and identify areas for action.
The inaugural summit was the idea of leading academic in developmental disabilities Emeritus Professor Trevor Paramenter from the Sydney School of Medicine and former director of the Centre for Developmental Disability Studies at the University of Sydney.
Paul Sadler from the Presbyterian Aged Care Network, an event sponsor, said the gathering would provide an important opportunity to shine a light on issues associated with ageing with a long-term disability and aim to improve outcomes for this group.
Key issues likely to top discussions at the National Press Club event include the experience of ageing for people with a disability, service gaps, and necessary policy and funding responses.
Mr Sadler told Community Care Review a major area of concern for many stakeholders is the substantial difference in funding available to consumers under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the aged care system.
While the NDIS is an uncapped service system, government contributions in residential aged care are capped at approximately $80,000 per annum, which has implications for the capacity of the aged care system to support people over 65 with profound disabilities, he said.
Effective assessment processes and access to appropriate services to meet age-related care needs, the interface with the health system and the age threshold for access to the NDIS are other topical issues to be canvassed.
Mr Sadler said research showed that people with an intellectual disability are more likely to develop dementia, which will need to be considered in dementia policy and care systems.
He said a summary of the recommendations emerging from the day’s discussions would be presented to all major parties ahead of the 2 July election.
Building further momentum in this area, representative body the National Aged Care Alliance, is currently preparing a paper on the interface between the ageing and disability systems as part of its advocacy work, which is due for release in coming months.
Among those organisations sponsoring the event is the Centre for Disability Studies, Australian Strategic Services, and service providers Achieve Australia, the Benevolent Society, McCall Gardens Community, Cerebral Palsy Alliance, integratedliving Australia, Greenacres and the Presbyterian Aged Care Network.
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