Everyone feels the impacts of ageing, but for people living with a physical disability these are felt much earlier, often in the 30s and 40s. Being prepared for this is the key to living well.
A first for Australia, the new Future Thinking website provides a central online information resource for people living with physical disability, their families, carers, and medical and allied health professionals.
The website covers a wide range of practical topics such as nutrition, communication, mobility equipment, sleep, physical fitness and mental health. All the information was developed in consultation with people living with physical disabilities and all the topics covered are tailored for different age ranges from 16 to 65 years.
The information is designed to support informed decision-making about appropriate services and interventions at key times in life, with the view that by achieving good health and wellbeing, people are more likely to achieve positive outcomes in their ability to participate in activities of their choosing.
The website is accessible and includes over 60 downloadable fact sheets.
In a speech officially launching this Future Thinking website, Disability Services Minister Stephen Dawson said the process of consultation in the development of the site had ensured its resources were tailored to the needs of its audience and aligned with State-wide approaches to disability services in Western Australia.
“The State Government is very keen to ensure that quality support and services are maintained for people with disability and their families during the transition to the Australia-wide National Disability Insurance Scheme, the NDIS,” Minister Dawson said.
“The resources that come out of the Future Thinking project will go a long way to ensuring relevant services are available to Western Australians living with disability, and their families, carers and medical professionals, as the State continues its transition to the scheme.
“The focus of the Future Thinking project relates closely to the lifetime approach of the NDIS, investing in people with disability early to improve their outcomes later in life. The State Government is very proud to support this project.”
Kerry Allan-Zinner has had a long and rewarding career in disability advocacy and human rights support. Born with Cerebral Palsy, Kerry is passionate about her advocacy work and showing others living with disability that they too can lead a good life that is full of choice.
Kerry worked as a Liaison Officer during the consultation stage of the project, collecting information about what is useful for people living with Cerebral Palsy and other physical disabilities to know at different stages of life. Surveys, consultations and interviews were completed with a range of people with disability that helped inform the topics and content of the Future Thinking website.
Kerry was involved in the development of the Future Thinking website and its resources, and has used the site since its launch to access information. She said she believed it was a valuable resource that would greatly help people living with disability.
“People living with physical disability are often marginalised – while many do require help with daily tasks, everyone should be given choice in how they live and what they do,” she said.
“The Future Thinking website offers the information people need to make informed decisions about how they want to live their lives; how they want to tackle living with disability across the full spectrum of life.
“Because the information is peer-led, it addresses areas that are of real relevance to the audience.”
The Future Thinking website was developed as part of the Future Thinking: Disability, Ageing and a Good Life (Future Thinking) project, a Disability Services Commission-funded, multi-year, multi-stage project.
Ability Centre was granted funding to develop the project.