Do we in the United States have places that meet the physical and psychological needs of the disabled young? We do, but these places are rare and hard to find. For someone with limited means, the search can seem almost impossible.
That’s why, when I ran across Youngcare http://www.youngcare.com.au/, an Australian movement that is building housing for people 65 and younger, I just about fell out of my chair. The organization was founded in 2005, and these are its goals.
“Currently over 7,000 young Australians (under the age of 65) with full-time care needs are living in aged care simply because there are few alternatives (National Disability Agreement 2011-12). There are also 700,000 more young Australians being cared for at home by family and friends, often with limited support (Australian Institute of Health & Welfare 2011).”
Youngcare has a hotline to help people find housing. They raise awareness of the issue of the disabled young. They lobby government on the state and national level to drive legislative changes. They provide at-home grants that help families remodel their homes, buy equipment, or take a breather. Here’s an example of how one of their services works:
Success stories of Youngcare Connect include Robert’s parents David and Mary. In 2005, Robert suffered major spinal and brain injuries after a motorcycle accident, leaving David and Mary as his full-time carers. David rang Youngcare Connect after many failed attempts at finding a respite service for their son. Within two days Youngcare Connect staff found and organised a respite service, allowing David and Mary their first holiday in five years.
“We can’t thank Youngcare enough, they are the reason we have managed to get Robert into respite, as we have been trying for years and no one would accept him,” said David.
To my mind, one of their most outstanding accomplishments is the creation of beautiful, handicapped-accessible living arrangements, places where a young person and their caregiver can truly live an age-appropriate life.
They’ve partnered with the Queensland government and the organization MS Queensland to build a housing project at Albany Creek. Right now there are 370 people in Queensland (an Australian state) living in elderly residential care, and the goal is to get them living on their own, but provided with the help they need.