Living well with a disability An update from the NDIS | Newcastle Herald

Buddies: Katherine has become self-employed in her unit, only Bobby, her beloved budgie, lives in her apartment. She’s celebrating the first anniversary. Photo: Delivered

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant Katherine Black is celebrating a year living independently in her own unit on reduced support – something she said people doubted she could do.

The 62-year-old with Down syndrome said she lives in a unit that’s run as a group home with 24-hour care but doesn’t need 24-hour care because she’s capable and confident enough to do most of the chores of daily living myself.

The two women enlisted their chosen local providers, Mel and Catherine, and set about making Katherine’s goal a reality.

Proving her doubters wrong, Katherine is now enjoying life in her own unit, feeling quite proud and having less support.

Katherine has developed a real confidence in what she wants out of life.

– Support agent Catherine

Her increasing independence means she no longer needs the same level of NDIS funding as she no longer needs to access Assisted Independent Living (SIL) funding.

“My goal for years has been to live independently. I wanted to prove to everyone that I could do it, and I did that,” Katherine said proudly.

“My unit is lovely; she is wonderful. I’m really enjoying being here with Bobbie (the budgie),” she added.

Catherine said Katherine has “developed a real confidence in what she wants out of life” over the years.

“Katherine lived in a group home, but she didn’t like living there. She found it noisy and annoying and she didn’t need much support. We could see that the environment was affecting her health,” she said.

“Now she has this lovely little unit with one bedroom, kitchen, dining area and lounge. She is so much happier and her overall health and well being has really improved.”

Catherine said by working closely with Mel and her team and understanding Katherine’s strengths and needs, they were able to build a strong support network around her.

“Katherine’s occupational therapist came up with some great strategies, so now she has a communication book that she fills out when something is bothering her or when she needs help getting things done,” she said.

“She also keeps a medicine book so she knows when to take it. They’re sealed in a Webster pack so she’s happy to administer them herself.

“I have weekends to myself now,” Katherine added. “It’s nice. I can walk to the shops if I need something, like milk or bread, and Bobbie and I can relax and watch TV.”

Although it took several years of intense work to get Katherine to this point, she had to prove herself accountable to the group home staff before she could move out.

“Katherine had to learn many new skills to understand personal relationships and what it takes to be a good neighbor, but she did very well.

“At first we were all worried about how Katherine would be, but you have to give people a chance and thanks to a good planner and flexible financing, Katherine is now living the life she longed for.”

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