Moving here meant… not having to move into aged care

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Jane was the CEO of a not-for-profit industry association and living in a 4 bedroom house in Nicholls with her family, before a stroke in November 2018 turned her world upside down.

Following the stroke, Jane spent 3 months in an intensive care unit and 9 months in a rehab hospital.

“Everyone believed the only option for me was a nursing home. Because of the extent of my disability – I’m a quadriplegic – they weren’t even sure I could go into a group home, which I didn’t want to do,” Jane said.

“At 54, I am too young for aged care and was determined not to go, but there wasn’t really anything else. Then my OT told me about a presentation she had been to about these SDA apartments!”

Jane now lives in a Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) apartment in Belconnen in the ACT.

SDA refers to a home that has been designed for people who need a lot of support, and may include features such as benches in the kitchen that can be accessed from a wheelchair, accessible bathrooms, provision for a ceiling hoist in the bedroom, or voice or device-activated doors, lights and blinds. Some SDA has around-the-clock support available, for the times when a tenant needs support quickly.

Jane in her SDA apartment in Belconnen, ACT.

Most of the cost of SDA is funded through a tenant’s NDIS plan.

Jane’s apartment is one of 10 SDA apartments in the ‘Dusk’ development in Belconnen, by SDA provider Summer Housing. The SDA apartments are scattered among the other apartments in the Dusk development, and from the outside are indistinguishable from neighbouring apartments.

“Moving here meant not being in a hospital environment and not having to move into aged care. Moving into my SDA Dusk apartment meant I could keep my independence.” Some people are worried about the adjustment of moving into an SDA apartment – especially after living somewhere where support workers aren’t in your home around the clock – but for Jane the adjustment was surprisingly easy.

“I was concerned how independent I could actually be living by myself. But I have support available whenever I need it and everything I need close by – the doctor, dentist, shops, café, Woolies etc.”

“Take the jump! You won’t regret it!”

If you’re looking for an SDA home in Canberra, beautiful new SDA apartments are open for application now in Belconnen, Braddon and Woden. To find out more, see the links below or contact our Housing Hub team –

Belconnen (Summer Housing)

Braddon (Enliven Housing)

Woden (Summer Housing)

A version of this article appeared in the Canberra Times on 15 August 2021.

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