Activities people need help with

People with disability may need assistance to participate in social and economic life. Knowing what these activities are can help with planning services and building inclusive communities.

More than half (59%) of all people with disability living in households need help with at least 1 of 10 activities of daily living (ABS 2016a). The most common are healthcare, property maintenance and household chores (Table 1).

Table 1: Type of activity people with disability living in households need help with, 2015 (%)

Type of activity

All with disability

Who need help with at least 1 activity

Health care

29.3

49.9

Property maintenance

26.9

45.8

Household chores

23.5

40.1

Mobility

22.9

39.0

Transport

21.7

36.9

Cognitive or emotional tasks

21.6

36.8

Self-care

15.3

26.1

Reading or writing tasks

10.0

17.0

Meal preparation

8.5

14.4

Communication

6.8

11.6

Source: ABS 2016a.

People with disability living in cared accommodation (such as in residential aged care or hospital) usually have a higher need for assistance than those living in households. An estimated 90% of people with severe or profound disability living in cared accommodation, for example, always need help with at least 1 core activity (self-care, mobility or communication), compared with 45% of people with severe or profound disability living in households (ABS 2016a). See Type of housing for more information on people living in cared accommodation versus in households.

The types of support people with disability need vary according to their age, sex and severity of disability (figures 1 and 2).

People with disability may also have restrictions that specifically make it difficult to participate in schooling or employment. For example, of people with disability living in households, an estimated:

  • 1 in 2 (48%) aged 5 and over have a schooling or employment restriction
  • 4 in 5 (81%) aged 5–18 who attend primary or secondary school have specific restrictions related to their schooling
  • 2 in 5 (41%) aged 15–64 studying for a non-school qualification have specific restrictions related to education
  • 2 in 3 (65%) aged 15–64 have specific restrictions related to employment (AIHW 2017a, 2017b).

References

ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2016a. Disability, ageing and carers, Australia: summary of findings, 2015. ABS cat. no. 4430.0. Canberra: ABS. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/mf/4430.0

ABS 2016b. Microdata: disability, ageing and carers, Australia, 2015. ABS cat. no. 4430.0.30.002. Canberra: ABS. AIHW analysis of TableBuilder data. https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/mf/4430.0

AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) 2017a. Disability in Australia: changes over time in inclusion and participation in employment. Cat. no. DIS 68. Canberra: AIHW. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/disability/disability-australia-changes-over-time-factsheets/fact-sheets

AIHW 2017b. Disability in Australia: changes over time in inclusion and participation in education. Cat. no. DIS 69. Canberra: AIHW. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/disability/disability-australia-changes-over-time-factsheets/fact-sheets