Family-Inspired Respite Care

By Alesha Capone

Marina Ivelja understands the difficulties that families in the western suburbs can face when seeking respite care for their loved ones.

Ms Ivelja is 16 years older than her older brother, who suffers from autism, intellectual disability, complex partial seizures and severe self-harming behavior.

Growing up, she witnessed her diagnosis, her integration into special schools and all the different services her family dealt with.

“We found it was very difficult early on to find services and facilities that could meet his behavioral and disability support needs,” she said.

Ms. Ivelja then pursued a career in disability services, including respite care, and worked in the field for over 15 years.

She is also the lawyer for her brother, now 31 years old.

Ms Ivelja said his parents were initially unwilling to seek respite care for their son.

“It was very difficult to get mum to even consider respite,” Ms Ivelja said.

She finally sat her parents down and told them how respite care for her brother was similar to her and her siblings going to school camp for a night or two, before heading home. .

“I can understand the reluctance of families to seek respite because I experienced it firsthand with my family, who feared, ‘What could happen and what will people think ?’ said Ms. Ivelja.

Ms Ivelja said people seeking respite care in the west often struggle to find a facility that suits their loved one’s particular needs.

“There are a lot of families right now struggling with care,” she said.

Ms Ivelja said this motivated her to set up her respite service, Beyond Disability Services, which opened in Bacchus Marsh in November 2021.

“Because of my long experience and relationships with institutions and families, I decided to go out on my own and offer a service where participants can feel at home and families can feel comfortable”, she said.

Ms Ivelja said she had selected experienced staff for Beyond Disability Services and for the safety of all participants and staff, security cameras were installed both internally and externally.

The service is open to participants of any age for children and adults on both self-directed and plan-managed NDIS plans.


About Antoine L. Cassell

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