How do people with MS over the age of 65 have their disability needs met?
People with MS with a disability aged under 65 right across Australia will be able to apply for a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) package, once the NDIS is fully rolled out by 2019. There are already people with MS receiving packages in the NDIS launch sites, and the vast majority are very happy with the services and support they are receiving.
But if you are aged over 65 with MS you are dependent on the aged care system.
There is an assumption that there is a degree of equivalence between supports available for people with a disability in the aged care system and those provided by the NDIS, but in reality there isn’t. Those over 65 who are trying to manage at home, might be eligible for a home care package or home support programs but it is often hard to find a package available at the right level and these supports are means tested, whereas the NDIS is not.
There is increasing evidence of unmet needs in Home Care Packages and Home Support Programs and stories of packages not being enough to maintain independence at home.
Many people with complex or significant disability end up in nursing homes. Once in the nursing home, people with MS can have further difficulties having their needs met. Access to aids and equipment and assistive technology and appropriate therapy and health service supports is problematic, as is the loss of independence, especially the loss of an independent social network.
Those aged over 65 who are in receipt of state government funded packages to support their disability needs face an uncertain future; the transition arrangements once the NDIS is fully rolled out are not yet clear.
Also, if a person under 65 with MS is in receipt of an NDIS package, they can keep receiving this package after the age of 65 through the NDIS ‘continuity of support’, though the rules regarding the future of the NDIS continuity of support are yet to be agreed to.
At MS Australia we are lobbying to keep people with MS at work and at home, with appropriate supports, for as long as possible. We want the aged care, health and disability sectors to be better integrated, to be joined up, so that the NDIS is as efficient as possible, and people with MS get the care they need, regardless of where that care comes from.