Tips To Keep Hydrated All Year Round

Man drinking glass of water

Why Does Your Body Need Water?

Your body needs fluids to stay healthy and to keep all its systems working properly. Your heart, your brain, and your muscles all need water. Those fluids nourish your cells, stop you getting constipated, and flush bacteria out of your bladder. 

Healthy people need about 1-1.5 litres of water per day – but not all at once. You can have too much of a good thing though. People with kidney, liver, heart or thyroid problems or people taking medicines that cause water retention (like some pain medications and antidepressants), should follow their doctor’s advice on how much water to drink. 

If you’re using or losing more fluid than you take in, you’ll become dehydrated, meaning your body won’t have enough fluids to function properly. 

Signs and Consequences of Dehydration in Elderly People

Symptoms of dehydration in the elderly include:

  • Dry mouth and lips
  • Dry skin
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Poor concentration
  • Slow reaction times
  • Dizziness 
  • Dark and strong-smelling urine
  • Cramps
  • Headaches
  • Irritability. 

If dehydration becomes severe, an older person might experience symptoms such as faster breathing, a rapid pulse, muscle cramps and stomach bloating.

Dehydration can have serious consequences in older people. Dizziness increases the risk of a fall, which can cause physical and emotional trauma. Dehydration makes urinary tract infections or constipation more likely. 

Why Is Dehydration a Problem in Older People? 

Older people are at higher risk of dehydration because of the way age affects the body and because they may have other medical conditions or take medications that make dehydration more likely.

Age may affect hydration by:

  • Reducing the feeling of thirst, meaning people don’t feel the need to drink – a common problem for people who’ve had a stroke or live with dementia
  • Causing incontinence – older people may deliberately drink less to avoid having an accident
  • Making people more likely to be taking fluid-draining medicine such as laxatives and diuretics
  • Making the body’s fluid reserve smaller
  • Reducing the ability to conserve water
  • Making it harder to move around and get a drink.

Tips For Helping an Older Person Staying Hydrated

The aim is to drink regularly throughout the day so the body is always topping up with new fluids to replace those being lost. So, how do you encourage an elderly person to drink enough water? 

You could try:

  • Putting 5 glasses of water or juice in the fridge each day as a visual reminder of how much to drink
  • Leaving drinks around the house so they’re easily on hand
  • Setting alarms to remind them to drink, especially if they don’t tend to feel thirsty
  • Varying the drinks by adding lemon or lime slices for a flavour change
  • Providing a straw if that makes it easier to drink
  • Encouraging them to eat water-rich foods like salads, fruit or applesauce
  • Reminding them to drink something whenever they eat, take medicines or catch up with friends
  • Encouraging them to drink more in hot weather
  • Suggesting they drink more during the mornings and less in the evenings if it’s hard for them to get to the toilet in the night
  • Ensuring they have easy access to a toilet – perhaps it’s time for a commode
  • Asking any carers who come to the home to offer them a drink and monitor their fluid intake. 

How Can Focused Health Care Help? 

Focused Health Care is run by Registered Nurses, meaning we understand the importance of hydration. We also understand the many different ways older people can become dehydrated and are alert to its signs when caring for people in their homes.  

Our in-home carers are trained to offer drinks when giving medicine or food, help with toileting and remind people to drink.

If you’d like help caring for an older person, then contact us to discuss our in-home care services. 

Caring For Someone With Dementia

Are you one of the 1.5 million Australians caring for someone with dementia? 

Dementia is more common in older people, over the age of 65. While it can directly affect people in their 40s and 50s, its main effect on middle-aged people is to turn them into carers of a parent with dementia. Perhaps that’s you – a member of the ‘sandwich generation’, caring for your growing kids and your declining parents while trying to sustain a relationship, perform well at work, and grab an occasional five seconds of ‘me time’. 

What Is Dementia? 

Dementia is not a specific disease but a collection of symptoms caused by disorders affecting the brain. It affects someone’s thought processes, behaviour and ability to complete everyday activities such as making a meal. You may notice your loved one struggling to remember things, take part in their usual activities, or care for themselves properly, 

Dementia is an umbrella term for the effects of several neurological conditions that cause declining brain function. Common types of dementia include Alzheimer’s disease, vascular disease, Huntington’s disease, Creuzfeldt-Jakob disease, alcohol-related dementia, and HIV-associated dementia. 

Caring For Someone With Dementia

So, how do you look after someone with dementia? 

Put Yourself in Their Shoes

Try to imagine what it’s like to know you’re not coping anymore, to need someone to shower you or change your soiled underwear. Most of us would feel a sense of shame or embarrassment about that – and your mum or dad probably does too. Most of us have our own illogical fears, which your parent with dementia may also start to display, such as a fear of having water poured over their head, which may make hair washing difficult. 

So, try to factor those feelings into how you do things. Remember your parent still has their own preferences and take those into account. Do they like a hot bath or a cool one? Are they more comfortable if the mirror is covered? Would they find it easier to go the toilet if they had a rail to hold? Sometimes, improving the environment helps avoid struggles and arguments. 

Talking to a Parent With Dementia

Dementia can significantly affect a person’s ability to communicate. They may lose track of conversations, struggle to find the right word, not be able to grasp what you’re saying, and be unable to express themselves clearly. It’s terribly frustrating for them and for you. 

The biggest tip here is to give them time. This is hard to do because life is busy and you have a long list of tasks to complete but it is a great gift to a person with dementia if you simply wait and let them find the word they’re after, or provide a gentle prompt. 

If there’s something important that you need to say then you can aid communication by:

  • Turning off the TV and remove other distracting background noise
  • Using short, simple sentences with one idea at at time
  • Staying still and staying where your loved one can see you. 

Communication is much more than words, though. Your body language is hugely important. It can communicate love and affection through touch, posture and warm expressions like a smile. Or it can communicate frustration and impatience through eye rolls and shrugs that undermine any loving words you might speak. 

Remember that not every communication problem is due to dementia. It’s also possible that your parent is experiencing hearing loss or sight problems – get these checked, just in case. 

Providing Personal Care to Someone with Dementia

It’s easy to forget how many different steps are involved in everyday tasks like brushing teeth, getting dressed, cooking or making a cuppa. 

People with dementia may struggle with everyday tasks. They may not remember to do them, or miss out crucial steps. They may not care about that activity anymore, they may be overwhelmed by the number of choices involved or make judgements or choices that seem odd. They may also feel uncomfortable being naked in front of you, if you’re helping with intimate tasks like toileting and bathing. 

You can help by:

  • Simplifying the decision-making process: Make dressing easier by decluttering their wardrobe so there are fewer choices or packing away clothes that aren’t appropriate for the current season. 
  • Accepting as many of their choices as possible: It doesn’t really matter if their clothes are mismatched or if you think they’re wearing too many layers as long as they’re comfortable. And while you might shower every day, it doesn’t mean they have to.
  • Limiting the range of choices: It’s often easier to choose between two definite alternatives, like whether to have a bath before or after dinner. 
  • Creating privacy: Close the door and draw the blinds for undressing or bathing so that they feel more comfortable. 
  • Ensuring proper nutrition: Set an alarm to remind them to eat, leave snacks (that don’t need refrigeration) where they can be seen, join them for a meal. 
  • Adapting to changes in motor skills: If it’s now too tricky for them to use cutlery then change to finger foods. If they’re having trouble getting to the toilet because they can’t undo their buttons, then replace those outfits with clothes that are easy to put on and off (Velcro works well). 
  • Tweaking the environment: If they’re bathing, make sure the room is warm and that they’re happy with the water temperature. Play some gentle music to set a calming atmosphere. Modify the home to ensure safety by putting rails in the bathroom or getting large clocks or calendars to help them keep track of time. 
  • Managing continence: See the doctor to rule out infections and get advice on management. Continence problems may be improved by setting reminders to go to the toilet, changing to easier-to-unfasten clothes, making the toilet more obvious, and getting a commode in the bedroom. 

Reducing the Risk of Wandering Off

If you’re worried about your parent with dementia wandering off, then listen to that fear and work out how to reduce the risk. 

You could chat to the neighbours and make sure they have your number. You could consider getting your parent a personal alarm with GPS to pinpoint their location and geofencing to alert you if they wander beyond a set boundary. You can also try masking the door behind a coloured curtain or putting a big red ‘Stop’ sign on it. 

If your parent wanders because they’re restless, then it may help to take them out for a walk to burn off some excess energy.

Manage Your Own Feelings

It can take time to adjust to being a dementia caregiver. It’s a big shift in your relationship with your mum or dad. They’ve taken care of you for as long as you can remember and the role reversal isn’t necessarily easy for either of you. Remember to take care of yourself so you can sustain your role as a dementia caregiver. 

How Can Focused Health Care Help? 

Looking after someone with dementia is a huge, ongoing job. You will almost certainly have days where you’re exhausted, overwhelmed, frustrated, angry and sad about the situation. That’s why you need support. If it takes a village to raise a child, it certainly takes one to care for a person with dementia. 

Focused Health Care is led by Registered Nurses who understand the way dementia affects the brain. We provide quality in-home care for people with dementia, assisting with personal care, social outings and domestic chores. We can help your mum or dad to maintain good grooming, personal hygiene, nutrition, and social connection. We also provide respite care so you can take a break. Contact us to find out how we can help your family.  

Are You Caring for Someone? Here’s Help

It’s easy for carers to neglect their own needs. After all, there’s usually no time to think about yourself; your life mostly revolves around caring for someone else. 

But your needs are there and they do matter. It’s OK to recognise your own needs, including the necessity of financial support and respite. 

The Nature of Caring

Anyone can find they’ve become a carer. You may be looking after your parents, your partner or your children. You may be in full- or part-time employment or you may have had to stop work in order to care. You could be of any age – there are over 270,000 carers under the age of 25 in Australia. 

The reason you’re caring for someone varies too. Perhaps your loved one has a disability, a mental health condition, a long-term illness or maybe they’ve become frail with age. Your caring role may involve helping your loved one bathe, eat, go to the toilet, take their medicine, and find enjoyment in life. 

Despite all this variation, there’s something all carers have in common; you need support. Each day, you battle exhaustion, distress, and financial concerns. Where can you get help? 

Payments for Carers

Informal carers provide $60.3 billion of unpaid care each year, according to a Deloitte Access Economics Report. 

Though the money doesn’t come close to covering the full cost of the care you provide, there are some payments for carers that can help to ease life a bit. 

Depending on how much care you provide, you might be eligible for certain types of financial support. 

Carer Payment

The Carer Payment is an income support payment for carers who provide constant care to someone with a severe disability or illness, or who is frail and aged.

To be eligible for this payment, both you and the person you care for need to meet certain conditions. If you’re eligible, you can apply for the payment online. You’ll need to supply certain documents to support your claim, such as medical reports, financial information, and proof of Australian residency. 

Carer Allowance

This Carer Allowance is a fortnightly supplement if you give additional daily care to someone who has a disability, serious illness, or is frail aged.

Again, there are certain eligibility conditions that you and the person you’re caring for must meet. You can apply online here and will need to supply documents about your finances, Australian residency and the medical needs of the person you care for. 

Carer Supplement

If you’re getting a Carer Payment or a Carer Allowance, you may also be eligible for the Carer Supplement. This is paid yearly if you care for someone with a disability or serious illness and are receiving certain payments. The government calculates it and sends it to you automatically each year; you don’t need to apply. 

You get a fixed payment of $600 per year for:

  • An eligible income support payment you receive (e.g. the Carer Payment or Carer Allowance)
  • Each person you get the Carer Allowance for. 

That means you may qualify for more than one payment of $600. 

Carer Support and the NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) recognises the importance of carers and provides a range of carer supports through a participant’s NDIS Plan. That could include:

  • Counselling
  • Building your skills and capacity
  • Supports that help your loved one gain more independence and so benefit you indirectly
  • Personal care and domestic assistance to the NDIS participant to ease your workload 
  • Providing a support worker on family outings to assist a person with disability, especially if you are caring for other children. 

How Focused Health Care Helps Carers

Caring is a long-term role. You need to sustain yourself with regular periods of relief and refreshment. 

Focused Health Care provides respite services to help carers. We know how much you give out each day and how desperately you need a break sometimes. We encourage you to plan respite so that you know there’s a breather coming. 

We’ll come to your home and ensure your loved one has a good day with a mix of interesting activities, personal care and nutritious meals. And we’ll stay overnight, responding to any needs in the small hours and dealing with breakfast next morning. 

You’re welcome to stay if you’d like – but you might prefer a night at a friend’s house or a hotel with crisp, clean sheets and room service!

If you’re ready for a break or would like to plan some regular respite, please call us today. 

6 Tips to Live Your Best Life After Retirement

Retiring from work is a significant milestone in your life. If you loved your job, you may miss the sense of identity, purpose and fulfilment it provided. Even if you didn’t particularly enjoy work, it still filled up a lot of time in your week – it may be many years since you’ve had the freedom to choose how you spend your days.

Retirement can be a time of satisfaction as you celebrate your professional success, or looking forward as you welcome grandchildren, of fulfilling personal dreams like travelling, and of adapting to a different level of income and a changed pace of life. 

Adjusting to a new stage of life takes time, so don’t expect to have it all figured out at once. But there are some common retirement challenges you can avoid with a bit of thought. 

Here are 6 retirement tips to help you get the most out of your new life: 

  1. Plan Ahead

As you get closer to retirement, start to plan for a successful transition. Think about your money, your time, marking the milestone, and a new routine.

Meet with a financial advisor to check your retirement income. You might even try living on (or near) your retirement budget so you can gradually get used to a lower level of income.

Rather than coming to a sudden stop, you could consider a phased retirement where you move into part-time work as a prelude to retirement. This is a good opportunity to think about how you’ll spend your days after retirement – many people find it helps to have a flexible routine rather than no plan at all. 

When the last day of your working life does arrive, mark the occasion. We celebrate other milestones like birthdays and weddings. This rite of passage is just as important as you enter retirement. If you love a party, then throw one! If you’re the quiet type then do something special with a few close friends. 

  1. Stay Connected

While some of your work colleagues no doubt drove you crazy, work may also have provided many good relationships or connections with people. It’s surprisingly easy to become isolated in retirement so make the effort to continue existing friendships.

Making new connections is important too. Perhaps it’s time to join a new club or volunteer in your community. As well as the value of the activity itself, you’ll also be forming new relationships for a new phase of life. 

  1. Stay Active

Keep your mind active and agile by learning a new language, taking music lessons, or doing the crossword regularly. This helps prevent cognitive decline and can reduce the risk of dementia.

Keep your body moving too. You may have more time to exercise now you’re not stuck at a computer all day or you may find yourself moving less if you were in an active job.

Plan some exercise into your day. This helps set a routine, boosts your mental health, and gets you out of the house. It helps you maintain a healthy weight and to prevent or manage many chronic diseases that are more common as you age.

  1. Stay Healthy

Now that you have time, see your GP for a check up. Depending on your needs, your GP might check your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, or moles. You may also benefit from getting your eyes checked and your hearing tested.

Being proactive about your health makes it more likely that any problems can be identified early when they may be easier to treat.

  1. Get Support

Now that you’re home more often, you might notice how much there is to do – and how tiring that is. If you find the house a bit too much to handle, then do consider getting some in-home care to help with household tasks and maintenance. Depending on your situation, you may qualify for funding through My Aged Care.

  1. Say ‘Yes!’

You’ve retired from work; not from life. After years of meeting other people’s demands, this is now your time. If there are things you’ve always wanted to do, then now is the time to do them – what are you waiting for? Say ‘yes’ to new experiences, new restaurants, new clubs, new hobbies, new friendships and a whole new life. 

In-home Aged Care: Is It Right For My Parents?

There are so many books, apps and guides to help you learn how to raise your kids but there’s comparatively little guidance about the other caring responsibility that many of us face in our middle years – caring for ageing parents. 

How do you tell if your parents would benefit from in-home aged care? And how on earth do you suggest it to them? 

What Is In-Home Aged Care? 

In-home aged care is help that comes to your parents’ home. It takes many forms depending on your parents’ needs but can include:

  • Meal preparation
  • Help getting in and out of bed
  • Help with showering to maintain personal hygiene
  • Allied health and therapy services
  • Cleaning and home maintenance
  • Modifying their home to make it safer with rails, ramps and shower chairs
  • Transport and services to enable them to continue social activities and get to medical appointments.

Signs That Your Parents May Benefit From In-Home Aged Care

  1. Are Things Getting on Top of Them? Take a look around the house. Is it still clean and well-maintained? Looking after a household is tiring enough at the best of times and it can certainly become burdensome as we age. In-home aged care relieves your parents of the weight of running a home while allowing them to continue enjoying life in their own familiar space. 

  2. Are You Doing More and More? Do you parents seem to need you more than they used to? Are you going around more often, helping them to shower or eat well? If you live further away, have you noticed changes when you visit? If your parents seem like they need more help to maintain their diet and hygiene, then maybe they do.

  3. Has There Been a Change in Their Health? Has something tipped the balance? It could be a fall or other injury, recovery from surgery or the diagnosis of one (or more) medical conditions with more medications to manage. 

  4. Are Mix-Ups Becoming More Common? Are they mixing up medications or forgetting appointments? Have you seen other signs of forgetfulness or confusion? In-home nursing care helps them to take the right medications at the right time while transport services can help them get to appointments.

  5. How’s Their Driving? Vision impairments, cognitive difficulties, some medications or simply increasing frailty may mean that it’s time for your parents to stop driving. In-home aged care is one way to adjust to life after driving. Services such as meal delivery avoid the need for grocery shopping while transport services can help your parents get to medical appointments or social activities, helping them stay in good health and connected to their community.

  6. Are They Keen to Maintain Their Independence? Your parents have been making their own choices for many years and probably want to continue doing so. But there comes a point when they’re not able to continue in their own home without help, meaning the only alternative is moving into residential aged care. In-home aged care enables them to maintain their independence. The help they receive at home conserves their energy, reduces the risks of falls or emergencies and frees them to focus on what they enjoy doing.

Suggesting In-Home Aged Care to Your Parents

The best way to approach this really depends on your parents and your relationship with them. Some people are very open to new ideas; others take time to warm up. Some parents have already begun to recognise the need for help while others don’t see it yet. 

Pick a time when you’re all likely to be relaxed and able to talk without being interrupted. Suggest ideas and options but maintain an open attitude and listen to things from their point of view. Don’t push it at first; you can always raise the topic again in a few days or weeks. 

One option is a trial of in-home aged care. Your parents may be surprised at how helpful they find it. And if it’s not quite the right fit, maybe a different type of service or a different caregiver could help. 

How Focused Health Care Can Help

The question of whether in-home aged care is right for your parents also depends on finding the right provider. At Focused Health Care, we enjoy getting to know each individual client and learning about their lives. 
We provide a range of services to help older people continue to enjoy life in their own home. Our flexible solutions are tailored to your parents’ needs and we try to send the same carers so your parents can get to know them and feel comfortable. If you’d like to learn about how Focused Health Care may be able to help your parents at home, then please contact us today.

Life Without Barriers: How the NDIS Can Help

Unhelpful stereotypes, inaccessible buildings, informational videos without captions or sign language – if you live with disability, you’ve probably faced many frustrating barriers to joining in mainstream activities. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) may help you overcome some of these.

The Social Model of Disability

Disability isn’t only about living with a particular medical condition that affects your daily life. There’s another layer of disability that’s caused by barriers to accessing mainstream society. 

The social model of disability recognises the barriers that make it harder for people with disability to engage in life. Identifying and removing these barriers helps you gain more independence and control. 

Barriers Faced by People With A Disability

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a barrier as something in a person’s environment that, by its presence or absence, limits function and creates disability. 

If you’re living with or caring for someone with disability, you’ll probably be very familiar with the daily barriers that make life more difficult than it already is. 

Often you’ve modified your home to make it suit you but it’s harder to transform the rest of society. That means you may regularly have to deal with barriers such as:

  • An inaccessible physical environment, for example, buildings with no wheelchair access, lifts or disabled toilets
  • Other people’s attitudes towards disability such as assumptions about what you can and can’t do
  • Absence of assistive, adaptive and rehabilitation devices that help you engage in work or social activities
  • Services, systems and policies that don’t consider the needs of people with disability. 

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

The NDIS can help you deal with those barriers. The NDIS is the new way that Australia recognises and supports people living with significant and permanent disability to get support so that their skills and independence improve over time.

Many of the supports funded by the NDIS are targeted at overcoming barriers to participation. That means (if you’re eligible) you can use NDIS funding towards:

  • Modifying a vehicle so you can travel more easily
  • Transport to get to work or social activities
  • Help to get or keep a job in either the open or supported labour market
  • Help getting the right aids and equipment and learning how to use them
  • Help at home, including personal support, domestic tasks and home modifications.

Getting NDIS Help

If you’re eligible for the NDIS, then you follow the prescribed NDIS application process and make an access request. 

If your request is approved and you become an NDIS participant, one of the first things you do is develop a plan of how to use your NDIS money. This is the time to think about your goals and identify the barriers to achieving them.

What do you want to do with your life? What would help you achieve it? Perhaps you’d like to get a job and need to gain some work experience or develop your skills. Maybe you’d like to gain a certain qualification but need a braille device so you can study more easily. 

Try to make your goals as specific as you can because that makes it easier to identify the support you need to achieve them. You might have a mix of different goals like learning how to shower alone and learning how to use public transport. 

The NDIS helps with your immediate support needs but it’s also there to help you achieve long-term goals and aspirations. It’s there to help you have more control and independence so you can participate in society. 

Each year you’ll review your NDIS plan. This is a great opportunity to recognise the progress you’ve made and set new goals for the year ahead. 

How Focused Health Care Helps You Overcome Barriers

Focused Health Care is an NDIS Approved Provider with a flexible attitude. We tailor our services to your needs and aspirations, helping you achieve the goals in your NDIS plan. 

If you like, we can help you manage your plan and coordinate the services you receive. Our support coordinators ensure a mix of supports are used to increase your capacity to maintain relationships, manage service delivery tasks, live more independently and participate in your community.

Please contact us today if you’d like to discuss how we may be able to help you. 

NDIS: Your Quick Guide

What Does NDIS Mean? 

NDIS stands for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. 

What Is the NDIS?

The NDIS is how Australia supports people with a significant and permanent disability. NDIS funding helps you get the services and supports needed to gain skills, participate in your community and live as independently as you can. 

Which Disabilities Does the NDIS Cover? 

The NDIS covers significant and permanent disabilities. That means your disability is likely to be lifelong and that it has a significant impact on your daily life. 

The NDIS supports you if you’re living with intellectual, physical, sensory, cognitive and psychosocial disability (assuming you meet the eligibility criteria). There’s also funding for early intervention supports eligible people with disability or children with developmental delay.

Who Is Eligible for the NDIS?

You may be eligible for the NDIS if you:

  • Are an Australian citizen or hold a Permanent or Protected Special Category Visa
  • Live in Australia
  • Are under 65
  • Need help from someone because you have a permanent and significant disability or
  • Have to use special equipment because of a permanent and significant disability. 

How Is the NDIS Funded? 

The NDIS is funded by the Australian government and by the states and territories. In effect, we all pay for the NDIS through our taxes, just like we pay for schools and hospitals. It’s an insurance scheme that any one of us might need at some point. 

You don’t pay to use NDIS services. If you’re eligible for them, you’re given a certain amount of funding to spend to get the help you need. 

What Can NDIS Money Be Used For?

There are rules about how you use NDIS money  – you can’t spend it on anything you like.

If you’re given NDIS funding, an NDIS representative will help you decide which supports and services you’d benefit from. You can use NDIS money for things that help you gain skills or employment, increase your independence, join in community activities or achieve other goals. 

Your NDIS supports and services must: 

  • Be related to your disability
  • Represent value for money
  • Be likely to help you
  • Take into account other support you’re receiving, such as through your family or other government services. 

You could use your NDIS money for:

  • Transport costs so you can get to work, education or social activities
  • Services that help you gain or keep a job
  • Therapy, like behavioural support
  • Help with home maintenance and household tasks
  • Help choosing the right aids and equipment
  • Training in using aids and equipment
  • Modifications to your home
  • Mobility equipment
  • Modifications to your car.

Basically, the NDIS money is there to help you pay for the extra help you need because of your disability. It’s not meant to help with the ordinary costs of living that everyone faces, such as grocery shopping. You can’t use NDIS funding for services that aren’t related to your disability. 

You can read more about what the NDIS does and doesn’t fund here

How Do I Apply for the NDIS?

If you’d like to apply for NDIS funding, you need to make an Access Request. You do that by calling the National Disabilities Insurance Agency on 1800 800 110 (a support person can do this for you if you can’t do it yourself). You’ll need to give them certain information so that they can decide if you’re eligible for NDIS support. 

If you’re seeking NDIS funding for a child under 7, you apply under the Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) Scheme by contacting an ECEI partner in your area. 

What Is the NDIA?

The National Disabilities Insurance Agency (NDIA) is the government agency that runs the NDIS.

What Information Will the NDIA Need?

If you want to apply for NDIS funding, the NDIA will need certain information to decide if you’re eligible. You’ll need to tell them:

  • Your name and age
  • Your address (you need to live in Australia to use the NDIS)
  • Whether you are an Australian citizen or hold a Permanent or Protected Special Category Visa
  • The nature of your disability and its impact on your daily life
  • Medical information, such as reports from your doctors or allied health professionals.

You’ll also need to give them permission to talk to other professionals and agencies involved in your care.   

How Will I Find Out if I’ve Got NDIS Funding? 

You’ll receive a letter from the NDIA that tells you whether or not you’ve been given NDIS funding. If you have not been given NDIS funding, the letter will explain why you weren’t successful and how to appeal the decision if you wish.

If you have been given NDIS funding, you’ll be contacted by a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) to arrange a planning meeting to develop your first NDIS plan. 

What Is a Local Area Coordinator and How Can They Help Me?

Your Local Area Coordinator (LAC) is an NDIS partner who helps you:

  • Understand and use the NDIS
  • Create an NDIS support plan for the NDIA’s approval
  • Put your approved plan into action by helping you find and use the services you need
  • Review your plan, usually about a year after your first plan starts. 

How Do I Get an NDIS Plan? 

Your NDIS plan is a document that sets out your goals, identifies the supports and services you’ll need to realise them, and the funding you’ll receive. You’ll review the plan every year. When your needs change, your plan will change too. 

You develop your NDIS plan at a planning meeting with your Local Area Coordinator or NDIS planner. It’s an important meeting and you should follow these steps to prepare for it

After the meeting, your plan is submitted to the NDIA for their approval. Once you receive your approved plan, you can begin using the NDIS.

What is an NDIS Participant?

An NDIS participant is someone who is receiving NDIS supports and services. Hopefully, it’s you!

What is an NDIS Service Provider?

An NDIS service provider is someone who delivers the services in your NDIS plan. 

There are many different sorts of providers. Some are large companies, others are not-for-profit groups or individuals. It’s important to choose a provider you like. 

What Is an NDIS Registered Provider? 

An NDIS registered provider is an NDIS-approved service provider. That means that they have registered with the NDIS and that they meet government quality and safety standards. 

Can I Use Any Type of Provider?

That depends on how you’ve chosen to manage your NDIS funding. If you’ve chosen to have the NDIA manage your money for you, you can only use NDIS registered providers

If you’re managing your own NDIS money, or have a Plan Manager, then you can use both registered and non-registered NDIS providers. 

How Do I Choose a Provider?

Your NDIS plan will list the services and supports that have been approved for you. Then you look for a provider that delivers those services in your area.

The NDIS tries to give you as much choice and control as possible, meaning you’re able to choose a provider who suits you. Your LAC can help you find a provider and there’s more information about the process here

Once you’ve chosen a provider, you should make a service agreement with them. That outlines the services you’ll receive, the price you’ll be charged, and how you can end or change the arrangement. 

Is Focused Health Care a Registered NDIS Provider?

Yes, Focused Health Care is a registered NDIS provider. We provide plan management and support coordination as well as a broad range of disability services to clients across Queensland. 

Can I Change My NDIS Provider?

Yes, you can. The NDIS aims to give you choice and control over the services you receive. If you’re not happy with your current provider, or if you need a different sort of service, you can choose to end your current service agreement and enter into a new one with another service provider.

If you want to change a service provider then:

  • Check the termination times in your service agreement
  • Make a written request to your current provider to end the agreement (you don’t have to explain why you want to change unless you wish to)
  • Ask them for a written reply
  • If the NDIA manages your funds, check to see that your booking has been cancelled so that your new provider is able to make bookings for you. 

Does the NDIS Support Children with a Disability? 

Yes, it does. The NDIS supports children aged 0-6 under the Early Childhood Early Intervention Scheme

I Have a Disability But I’m Over 65. Can I Use the NDIS?

No, the NDIS is for people under 65. You can use a different type of support if you’re over 65.

If you’re over 65 and receiving disability support when the NDIS arrives in your area, then you may continue to receive care under the Commonwealth Continuity of Support Programme.

Otherwise, if you have a disability and are over 65, you may use Aged Care Services such as the Commonwealth Home Support Programme or the Home Care Package

6 Signs You Could Benefit From In-home Aged Care

If it’s becoming more difficult to manage at home, then you may benefit from some in-home care so you can stay at home on your own terms. 

If you qualify for a government funded home care package, you can receive different kinds of support to help you continue living in your own home

But how do you know when you’re ready for a bit of extra help? 

1. You Value Your Independence

You’ve made your own decisions for a long time now. You’ve worked, raised a family, and contributed to your community. Maybe you’ve travelled the world too. You’re used to making your own choices and you want to continue doing so.

But, perhaps, you’re finding it harder to manage. You don’t want to lose your independence but you would like some extra support.

2. You Still Like Living at Home

You probably do, but it’s always good to start with asking whether your current home is still the place you want to be. 

Often, the answer is a definite ‘yes’. It’s probably full of happy memories of raising your kids and entertaining friends. And now you may be making new memories there playing with your grandchildren. 

In-home care exists because people want to remain in their own homes but have begun to need extra support to do so. 

3. …But It’s Getting Harder to Manage the Place

Looking after a home takes quite a bit of work. There’s all the food shopping, cleaning, cooking and gardening to do. It’s not easy to stay on top of it all. Indeed, a common cause of falls in older men is falling from a ladder while working on the house.

A home care package offers some respite from all that. If you’re eligible, you can get someone to help you with:

  • Household chores
  • Home and garden maintenance
  • Modifying your home to make it safer, for example by installing ramps or shower rails to prevent falls

A home care package can help keep your home safe and well maintained so that it continues to be a pleasant place to live. 

4. You Need Help With Personal Care

You might need a bit of maintenance too! It may have become tricky to get in and out of the shower, look after your feet or get in and out of bed. 

In-home services can help you maintain your personal hygiene and grooming. Someone you trust and feel comfortable with will be there to help you bathe. You can also get allied health professionals to help you with podiatry, occupational therapy or physiotherapy needs to help you maintain your movement and mobility. They can also help you with meals, ensuring you’re receiving proper nutrition

5. You Have Some Medications to Manage

As you get older, you’re more likely to be living with multiple ongoing health issues that need regular medications. Maybe it’s arthritis or diabetes, a heart condition or even cancer. In-home nurses can help you to manage your health and take your medications regularly and at the right time.

6. You’ve Got Places to Go But Need Help Getting There

No one wants to be stuck at home but it can get harder to go out if you’re no longer able to drive. A home care package can be used for transport needs, meaning you can more easily travel to social activities or medical appointments. 

That’s good for both your mental and physical health. It means you can keep getting advice and treatment from health professionals to keep your body in good condition. And you can keep taking part in your community, maintaining friendships and enjoyable activities outside your home. 

If you’d like a bit of extra help to stay in your own home, then Focused Health Care is here for you. We’re a family business and we treat you like family too. You’ll receive personalised care and support from the same one or two people, so that you can get to know each other and build up a relationship. 

Please get in touch. We’re looking forward to helping you maintain your independence at home.