"It's different in the country" - Supporting ageing-in-place for people with developmental disability: An exploration of rural and metropolitan perspectives

The University of New England assessed the gaps that exist in current disability and aged care sectors, in providing the level of care required to support the successful ageing of people with developmental disabilities in both rural and urban regions of New South Wales and Queensland.

The study used a mixed methods approach. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with older people with intellectual disability who were living with family, in a group home, or in a residential care facility. Paid and unpaid carers for the participants were also interviewed. Themes from the data informed the development of a survey. This survey was sent to persons in the aged care, disability and health sectors who were providing services for older people with disabilities.

Key findings of the work indicated that people with disability preferred to have a choice about where and with whom they aged, and they needed to have a meaningful role in any decision-making process. An urgent need was identified for staff to better understand how to support ageing in place, particularly in rural areas. It was also found that rural residents are at greater risk of premature entry to residential aged care facilities, and often this could have been avoided or deferred by appropriate home modification and social support strategies. Tele-health and e-technologies also have potential for greater use to support rural people with disabilities.

From the NSW Department of Family and Community Services website:

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