An alliance of 25 organisations representing people with disability and older Australians is behind a push to gain equal access to assistive technology for all ages.
The Assistive Technology for All (ATFA) alliance, which includes COTA Victoria and COTA Australia, has begun its campaign with the lodgement of a submission to the Royal Commission on Aged Care Quality and Safety.
Campaign spokesperson and COTA Victoria Policy Officer Lauren Henley says the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is able to meet the cost of assistive technology for eligible people with disability who are under 65. Most people aged over 65 are not eligible for the NDIS.
Assistive technology can help people with disability perform a range of everyday tasks safely and independently. It can take the form of specialised computer software, mobility aids such as wheelchairs, electronic communication devices and prosthetic aids – the list is wide and varied. These devices facilitate independence and participation in daily life.
“We are increasingly concerned about the level of unmet need that exists for older people with disability who are not eligible for the NDIS,” Lauren says.
“People over 65 who need assistive technology must be catered for within the aged care system. This system lacks specialist disability expertise and funding for assistive technology is limited.”
The ATFA alliance will increase awareness of the challenges that people, including those over 65, face if they require assistive technology. Initiatives will include a traditional and social media campaign and lobbying state and federal politicians.
COTA Connects will feature more information about the campaign in upcoming editions.