Luke has spent the past six years living in an aged care facility at Clontarf and now he’s looking forward to moving to a place of his own at North Lakes.
Diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease just weeks before his 30th birthday, Luke is now just 39, but he has been in care designed for older people because there has been no alternative.
All that’s about to change with charity Youngcare, which provides suitable and appropriate accommodation for young people with high care needs, opening a new facility at North Lakes.
Luke’s aunt and advocate Kaye says her nephew is excited to be moving in with another young person, in a complex of seven two-bedroom homes.
The complex has been custom-built to accommodate young people with high needs and will be staffed around the clock.
Kaye says the move will be life-changing for Luke and will allow him to do the things others his age take for granted – like going to bed at a time of his choosing, having breakfast when he feels like it, going to concerts, and enjoying a rum and Coke.
“When Luke was diagnosed he was very able-bodied and 10 years later he can’t even speak,” Kaye explains.
“He was working as a boner at a meatworks in Toowoomba and he had a daughter, who is now 18.”
Soon after his diagnosis, Luke’s partner was struggling to cope, so Luke went first to hospital and then to a facility an hour from Toowoomba before moving to aged care at Clontarf as his family desperately sought somewhere appropriate for him to live.
But Kaye says while his current care is of a high standard and the staff are extremely caring, the constraints of necessary routines had taken their toll on her nephew.
“Luke doesn’t associate with the people there because he wants to be around people his own age.
“It has been his home and he has had wonderful care there – they have been his family and he will be missed, but this is going to mean freedom and choice and no routine – the little things,” she says.
“He’ll be able to sit up and watch TV as late as he likes.”
Youngcare chief executive officer Anthony Ryan says North Lakes is the site of the first of two new Youngcare facilities for the Moreton Bay Region, with a second to be built at Rothwell.
The Rothwell facility will be a share house for three young people, with bedrooms and bathrooms for each and a communal kitchen and living space. It will also provide round-the clock care for residents.
“Youngcare allows them to choose the lives they have always wanted to live, it allows them to thrive – young people want to live young lives,” Anthony says.
The Youngcare apartments at North Lakes still have room for more residents and the Rothwell home also has vacancies.
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