The Canberra Times

IDayAdvertising Feature

When your hearing aids aren't enoughAdvertising Feature

By the age of 65, one in three people will have hearing loss. So, it is critical for people over 50 years of age to have regular hearing tests with an audiologist to manage their hearing loss in a timely manner.

Hearing loss in adults can manifest as having to put in greater effort to listen and understand speech. For many people, the onset of hearing loss is insidious, and they can often interpret their symptoms as others mumbling or not speaking clearly.

Studies show hearing loss can be associated with social withdrawal, isolation, depression, and anxiety-and is an independent risk factor for dementia. According to a Lancet article, hearing loss is the largest potentially reversible factor that is responsible for dementia.

Alan Edwards addressed his hearing loss with cochlear implants. Photo: Supplied

By helping reduce the impact of hearing loss with hearing aids and cochlear implants, we may be able to have a flow-on effect and help reduce dementia and improve quality of life.

Deakin based ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon Dr Tim Makeham urges you to consider a cochlear implant if your hearing aids are no longer enough.

"We know hearing loss is prevalent amongst older Australians, which is no different for those that reside in Canberra," Dr Makeham said.

The NextSense cochlear implant program has supported more than 5,000 people to access a better world of sound, making it Australia's largest and most comprehensive program.

At NextSense, you have access to leading surgeons, an expert team of health professionals, and the latest technologies, often with no out-of-pocket costs. Fully bulk-billed appointments are available with a referral from an audiologist or GP.

"People can have their cochlear implant surgery, and associated therapy, here in Canberra. Referring our clients to a local ENT surgeon with consultation rooms in Deakin is important," explains NextSense area manager, Jo Dodds.

Cochlear implants can be a suitable option for newborns through to people aged ninety and older who have profound hearing loss.

A common misconception is that you're too old for a cochlear implant.

Alan is an older Australian who has benefited from a cochlear implant. When Alan's hearing loss increased over time, he became distant, withdrawing from society and his family. Alan persisted with hearing aids despite them becoming physically painful.

But hearing aids weren't enough. In 2017, he received his first cochlear implant, and a year later received his second-making him a bilateral (both ears) cochlear implant recipient.

"The impact it has had on me and my life is beyond measure," Alan said.

Alan hopes that by sharing his story he will have a positive impact on people experiencing hearing loss just like him and reassure them that you can improve your quality of life.

Join a free cochlear implant information session in Deakin, where you will hear directly from a cochlear implant recipient and have your questions answered. For more information, contact the team on 1300 581 391 or visit nextsense.org.au/dhi.

Toward an inclusive, accessible worldAdvertising Feature

International Day of People with Disability (IPDwD) is celebrated internationally on the December 3 this year.

It aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability and to celebrate their achievements and contributions.

The theme for IDPwD 2021 is "Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world".

The goal is to promote inclusion through the removal of physical, technological and attitudinal barriers for people living with a disability.

As we emerge from lockdowns, it's important to consider the barriers to inclusion faced by many of the 4.4 million Australians who live with disability, especially those barriers that prevent full participation in the community.

One of Disability Trust's most popular programs is the Score Raiders team and they are pictured here playing in a curtain raiser against the Score Dragons earlier this year. Photo: Supplied

This year The Disability Trust ACT/Queanbeyan will be holding its first annual IDPwD Award Ceremony on December 3, 2021.

The purpose of this ceremony is to celebrate the individual achievements and contributions that all our participants and employees have made this year to both our organisation, and the broader ACT and Queanbeyan community.

We will also be establishing a number of perpetual awards to recognise the significant progress our participants have made to increasing their independence, participation, and engagement.

The Disability Trust looks forward to the continuation of this annual celebration and hopes it will grow each year.

The Disability Trust offers a range of programs to help meet the needs of people with disability, including supported independent living, short-term accommodation (respite), supports coordination, Club Trust Day Options, community access, vacation care, camps and clinical services.

We are also in the process of developing a number of new offerings for the ACT and Queanbeyan region such as school leavers employment supports (SLES), activity focused after school programs and social enterprises.

We also offer sport and recreation programs and one of the our most popular is our Score Raiders team. You can see them pictured playing in a curtain raiser against the Score Dragons at the Raiders Vs Dragons match at WIN stadium this year.

If you would like to find out more about any of our programs or discuss how we can meet your individual needs, please contact our Queanbeyan Office on 6147 6750, or email queanbeyanreception@disabilitytrust.org.au

As we emerge from lockdowns, it's important to consider the barriers to inclusion

- The Disability Trust

We're celebrating inclusion this I-DayAdvertising Feature

Minister for Disability Emma Davidson with Table Tennis ACT athletes. Photo: Supplied.

Everyone should have the opportunity to live a happy and fulfilling life.

I-Day is a chance for us all celebrate the talents and experience of Canberrans living with a disability and the incredible contributions they make to the diversity and richness of our community.

Nothing captures this better than Table Tennis ACT's motto: to be happy through playing table tennis. It is about genuine inclusivity, where ability, age, sex, cultural background, or experience does not impact access to participation.

Through an ACT government Disability Inclusion Grant, Table Tennis ACT were able to develop a Diversity and Inclusion plan, deeply understanding the intersectionality of disability with other social factors such as being a woman, LGBTQIA+ or a First Nations person. This is a great starting point for other organisations to create their own plans.

The current round of grants, open until February 14, 2021 at communityservices.act.gov.au/disability_act can help organisations, businesses and individuals create a more inclusive Canberra through initiatives such as disability training, awareness raising, assistive technology and infrastructure modifications.

To become a truly inclusive city, we must co-design and listen to the experiences of people living with a disability. It's why I am so proud to double funding for individual advocacy services Advocacy for Inclusion and ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service, so people living with a disability will continue to have their voices and needs heard, especially throughout decision-making processes.

This International Day of People with Disability is an opportunity for all Canberrans to celebrate the 88,000 people in our community who are living with a disability. There are many fantastic events happening across Canberra this weekend to celebrate I-Day, so look out for ways you can participate and celebrate the many contributions people living with a disability make across our city. As examples, Canberra Community Law are releasing social scripts to improve access for people living with a disability to legal assistance. Music for Canberra are running a series of performances and installations by Canberra artists living with a disability. Belco Arts are launching Connect Collective podcast and imagery series to celebrate the diverse hobbies and passions of people living with a disability. And Epilepsy ACT are hosting a webinar to engage and educate more workplaces to better support people with epilepsy. For more information on these events and others, please contact the ACT Office for Disability on OfficeforDisability@act.gov.au or (02) 6207 1086.

When we are kind, caring and supportive of one another, we improve social wellbeing outcomes for our whole community. More people will have access to participate and engage in Canberra's political, social, economic, and cultural life. And when we do this, we will build a better normal where we celebrate diversity, and everyone has equal opportunities for inclusion and participation.

Happy I-Day.

Specialist disability accommodationAdvertising Feature

SDA refers to a house, apartment or other type of home that has been designed for people who need a lot of support

- Summer Foundation
Many SDA apartments have wide doorways, lots of circulation space and an accessible bathroom. Some include home automation, emergency backup power, ceiling hoist provision and onsite support. Photo: Supplied

People with very high disability support needs often have a lot of trouble finding a home. Throughout the ACT, many people living with a disability live with ageing parents or in group homes, in situations that won't be sustainable or don't suit them.

Some young Canberrans live in aged care, because they haven't been able to find somewhere suitable to live that meets their support needs.

"Thankfully, we are seeing the landscape change," said Alecia Rathbone, general manager of the Summer Foundation's Housing Hub, an initiative that aims to connect people with disability to housing options that may be right for them.

"Specialist disability accommodation (SDA) is now being built in suburbs around Canberra, and it's finally giving people options, about where to live, what type of place to live in and who to live with," Ms Rathbone said.

"For many Canberrans with disability, this is the first time they've had any choice about where to live."

SDA refers to a house, apartment or other type of home that has been designed for people who need a lot of support. SDA 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 unplanned support quickly.

SDA is funded through the NDIS. For eligible NDIS participants, most of the cost of living in SDA is funded through their NDIS plan, making it affordable for people on low incomes.

New SDA properties are popping up around Canberra, including beautiful new ones in Belconnen, Braddon and Woden. The SDA apartments in these three properties are scattered throughout larger residential developments and from the outside are indistinguishable from neighbouring apartments.

"This apartment model means that tenants live as part of their communities. And the accessibility features mean that tenants aren't having to rely on as much assistance from support workers - giving people more independence and privacy," Ms Rathbone said.

"The big challenge is that many people who might be eligible for SDA haven't heard about it.

"If you think SDA might be right for you, get in touch with our Housing Hub team on 1300 61 64 63. We'll be happy to talk you through the next steps."

Taking control of shopping narrativeAdvertising Feature

EveryHuman is your one-stop online shop.

- EveryHuman founder Matt Skerritt
Gaining purchase. EveryHuman specialises in finding the best adaptive technology and products for people living with a disability, sent right to your door. Photo: Supplied

EveryHuman started in 2019 when founder Matt Skerritt was working in the aged care sector. Baffled by the lack of clothing available to people with disabilities that was stylish, high quality and comfortable, he thought to himself, "how can people with disabilities take control of their own narratives?"

And so, EveryHuman was born. "I believe fashion is a powerful tool when it comes to confidence," Matt said.

"EveryHuman is your one-stop online shop for the latest accessible fashion, footwear and lifestyle products. We specialise in finding the best adaptive technology and products for people with disabilities, sent right to your door."

Following on from it's fashion range, EveryHuman has expanded and launched a lifestyle collection with a range of inclusive items such as mobility aids to hands-free toothbrushes.

Adaptive fashion

If you are looking for clothing that blends style and function to make getting dressed easier, pain-free, and convenient then try EveryHuman's adaptive fashion range. EveryHuman stocks amazing brands like Tommy Hilfiger, IZ Adaptive and Billy Footwear for a range of needs including seated wear, easy closures and ease of dressing.

Footwear that fits YOU!

"Our biggest feedback from the community was the lack of stylish and easy-to-wear shoes," Matt said.

"Tying and putting on shoes can be challenging. Our shoes have zip-around technology so you can slip your foot in with ease."

EveryHuman's adaptive footwear line also includes features such as AFO and orthotic friendly designs and wide-fit options. This is perfect for people experiencing loss of dexterity, limb difference, or anyone wanting an easy-on shoe. The shoes are stylish, comfortable, and just made your next travel adventure a little more enjoyable. These are available in men's, women's, and kids in many colours and sizes.

Sensory-friendly technology

A crowd favourite from EveryHuman's newest range includes its sensory-friendly products, aiming to make every day a little calmer, like the feeling when you put on a warm pair of socks or eating marshmallows by the campfire. Feel more at ease in your surroundings with noise-controlling earphones, fidgets, weighted blankets and so much more.

A seamless shopping experience

"Our team is small but mighty and here to help from sizing to NDIS," Matt said.

"Additionally, make use of our flexible returns policy and free delivery over $150 which means you can try the latest adaptive goods, right in the comfort of your own home."

For more information call 8437 1799 or have browse at everyhuman.com.au.

Human Rights Commission: Help resolving complaintsAdvertising Feature

ACT Discrimination and Community Services Commissioner, Karen Toohey. Image: Supplied

Canberrans can now raise concerns with the ACT Human Rights Commission about abuse, neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable person or the risk of this occurring.

A vulnerable person is someone who has a disability or impairment or a person older than 60 who is socially isolated or unable to participate in community life.

"A complaint can be made by the vulnerable person, a carer, friend, family member, service provider or other person concerned about the vulnerable person," ACT Discrimination and Community Services Commissioner, Karen Toohey said.

"People can complain about a person or service provider who is putting the vulnerable person at risk of, or causing the vulnerable person abuse, neglect or exploitation."

People can raise their concerns confidentially or anonymously. The Commission responds to enquiries and complaints in several ways.

"You can call us for information and to have a confidential discussion about options, or you can make a complaint. We can talk through options for trying to resolve the concerns informally, provide information and referral options.

"We may investigate the issues raised and try to resolve the complaint through conciliation.

"If we cannot resolve a complaint, we can make recommendations to improve service provision. Our intention is always to improve the safety of the person and uphold their rights," she said.

In the ACT, people with a disability are also protected from unfair treatment, bullying, harassment and vilification under the ACT Discrimination Act. The Act protects carers, parents and those supporting a person with a disability too.

"If you or someone you know has been denied a job, bullied or vilified, denied housing, or treated less favourably in accessing services because of a disability, you can make a complaint with us," Ms Toohey said.

The Commission's complaint process is informal, accessible and free. You can fill in a complaint form on the ACT Human Rights Commission website, or call 6205 2222 or email human.rights@act.gov.au