New Group Homes making a huge difference

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Billy, Jane Penfold (back), Minister for Disability Services John Ajaka and Maureen Schenau. Photo: Megan Dunn

Minister for Disability Services John Ajaka visited Group Homes in Emu Plains on Wednesday to see how residents have settled in since moving in exactly six months ago.

Moving from Large Residential Centres into one of the state’s newest Group Homes has increased their level of care, and given them a new found sense of home and independence.

Mr Ajaka said the two specially designed buildings fit into the neighbourhood discreetly but provide high levels of care and comfort.

“The buildings fit into the community, but at the same time are all inclusive and provide easy access to residents,” he said.

“They have very wide hallways, wide doors and are already built with reinforcement beams to support a winch in every bedroom, and even in the bathrooms.”

The homes in Emu Plains cost $1.6 million, and a further 19 in western Sydney and 69 statewide are being built to help change the lives of residents and their families.

Each resident has their own bedroom they and their family can decorate, have had individual bank accounts opened, and families have a say in the day to day activities for their family member.

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Mr Ajaka said this choice by individuals and their families ties into the concept of the new National Disability Insurance Scheme.

“As individuals receive individualised funding, it allows them to bring more home into their own bank accounts and have their own individualised lives,” he said.

“That’s something that could not have happened at a Large Residential Centre.”

Maureen Schenau’s brother Billy moved into the Group Home from a Large Residential Centre in Rydalmere, and said he is now closer to family who can visit him more.

“I speak on behalf of our mum who just turned 90, and she thinks it’s absolutely beautiful and fantastic for Billy here, he is a part of a family,” she said.

Jane Penfold, the Group Homes’ Residential Unit Nurse Manager said nurses at the home encourage active support of residents, like holding the pegs while hanging out their clothes.

“One resident has progressed far enough that he hands the pegs to us and once we finish he throws them on the ground.”

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