A home of one’s own

Mar 8, 2023

A portrait of Mark who is wearing a grey t-shirt with AUS written in blue across it. He is looking off camera

Moving out on your own is an exciting step toward a more independent life, something that 56-year-old Mark Fitzgerald has recently experienced for the first time when he moved into his own one-bedroom Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) villa in Yangebup developed by Shift Accessible Homes, a Rocky Bay company.

Until November 2022, Mark had mostly lived in shared group home accommodation with other housemates, including Rocky Bay’s supported accommodation in Yangebup. However due to a diagnosis of Polydipsia, coupled with the fact that he requires a modified diet, Mark’s schedule – particularly around meal times – usually had to work around his other housemates.

Polydipsia is the medical term for feeling excessive thirst, or an urge to drink fluids at all times. The challenges around Mark’s diagnosis, as well as living 24/7 with other housemates, heightened his anxiety levels, so living independently with the right supports in place was the goal for Mark.

Victoria Duffy, Team Leader at Rocky Bay’s SDA in Yangebup, says that in his own villa Mark has much more independence. He has the freedom to be himself and make choices on what he wants to do and where he wants to go, without having to fit around a schedule of other housemates.

“Mark has his own place, it’s all his. He has his own bedroom, his own ensuite, a private courtyard space and his own little kitchen. He’s got a lovely spot…he can just be himself”, says Victoria.

“There’s a beautiful park just over the road so he can go out. Mark loves being outdoors; every day he’s out walking two or three times a day in the park. If he wants to stay longer we take some drinks and snacks so we can enjoy morning tea, and then he can just come home whenever he wants to. He’s not keen on getting in the car to go places at times, so it’s great to have the park right here.”

Victoria explains that Mark is well supported in his villa, with access to 24/7 onsite care from Rocky Bay’s support workers.

“Even though there is somebody here all the times for Mark, sometimes he just likes a little bit of time on his own, so he is free to do whatever he wants.”

Mark’s villa is modern and accessible, featuring wide doorways and bright and airy spacious rooms. Technology such as automatic doors and blinds, environmental controls, and height adjustable facilities are built-in, and the space features cleverly concealed smart solutions, particularly for the laundry area.

The villa is located walking distance from the park Mark loves to spend time in and is a short car ride to the shops and amenities, 15 minutes from Coogee Beach and 20 minutes from the heart of Fremantle.

Whilst Mark lives independently in his own space, he also has the option to spend time with his friends who live in the surrounding three-bedroom, two-bathroom SDA villa.

“Mark often visits his friends in the other villa…he has the freedom to come and go there whenever he wants. He also brings some of them over to his villa for morning tea, which gives him some interaction when he wants it, so then his space doesn’t feel so isolating for him.”

It’ an exciting time for Mark as he takes the next step in his journey, and he is relishing in his independence and brand new contemporary space.

To find out more about future SDA builds by Shift Accessible Homes, call the Shift team on 6399 4100 or click here.

Photo credit: Rocky Bay support Worker, Balbir Singh

Skip to content