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Help staying at home
Maintaining your independence
Maintaining your independence is vital to sustained home care, and one of the main obstacles to independence is an inappropriate home environment. However, if your environment is manageable, barrier-free, and with limited demands on maintenance, housekeeping or gardening, the impact of disabilities and frailty can be reduced.
Developments in technology also help people stay at home longer. One example is the 'Smart Houses' concept, which involves technologies such as sensors, video screens and memory telephones that help older Australians to stay independent for longer and support their participation in society.
Even without technology, you may find that changes in your life or abilities require a smaller, safer, more age-friendly and more secure environment that’s also closer to services, transport and family.
The Home and Community Care (HACC) Program aims to provide you with a comprehensive, coordinated and integrated range of basic maintenance and support services so you can manage at home for as long as possible. HACC services will assess your eligibility for service and your level of need for service.
Read more: About the Home and Community Care Program
There are also many government housing initiatives that support your independence by addressing your housing needs.
- In South Australia, Housing SA is committed to a greater diversity of housing options to match the needs of an ageing population. For more information about Housing SA, visit the Housing SA website, send them an email or contact them directly on 13 12 99.
- Housing Tasmania administers the provision of public housing in Tasmania. Some properties are specially designed to suit people with mobility problems. For contact details and information about eligibility for public housing visit the Housing Tasmania website.
- The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government funds an Aged Housing Advisory Service to assist people to make well-informed decisions about accommodation as they grow older. For more information visit the ACT Government's Older Persons Housing page, or you can contact them directly on 13 34 27.
- In Melbourne, Archicentre, the building advisory service of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, provides a home renovation service for pension card holders 60 and over or who have a disability. This service is designed to help older Victorians to live independently by identifying what work needs to be done to make the home a safe and healthy place to live. For more information about the Archicentre visit the Archicentre website or contact them directly on 1300 136 513.
- In Perth, the Volunteer Task Force provides ‘home handyman’ services for elderly and disabled people. For more information about the Volunteer Task Force, visit the Volunteer Task Force website or contact them by phone on 08 9328 5388.
- In Queensland, the Department of Housing developed the Smart Housing initiative, which promotes good practice in planning, designing and building homes to make them more socially, environmentally and economically sustainable. A Smart House is built with people in mind so they are able to move around more easily, feel safer, save money and help the environment. Therefore, you and your family can live in a Smart House through all stages of your lives. Smart Housing was developed in response to the demand for housing that better meets people's needs and responds to the Queensland climate while saving money. For more information about the Smart Housing initiative, visit the Smart Housing website or contact them directly on 07 3224 4991.
- In New South Wales, the Department Planning's State Environmental Planning Policy – Seniors Living 2004, uses a tailored approach to the range of housing that suits people 55 and over and people with disabilities. It sets out design standards for each type of development, such as aged care homes and self-care housing, to ensure that they are accessible. For more information visit the NSW Department of planning website or contact the Department's switchboard on 02 9228 6111.
Read more: About safety in the home
Common questions on this topic:
- I'm finding it difficult to do the washing and ironing. I hate my clothes looking untidy. Is there any way I can get help?
- I love gardening but it's getting too much for me. Can I get help?
- Mum uses a walking frame now. Is there help that I can get to make changes at home so she can move around more easily?