With the housing market currently in a crisis with low stock and high prices nationally, finding a home can be tricky, but finding the right disability accommodation services can be even trickier, including for short-term accommodation.

Jarred, a keen Sea Eagles supporter and Mid-North Coastie, wants to start living more independently. His mum Michelle says it’s a big goal for her son and one that isn’t without its challenges.

For him to ease into living independently, Michelle says Jarred wants to first have some shorter stints staying away from his family home to get used to it and develop some key life skills.

“Short Term Accommodation is so important for Jarred to develop the skills he needs to live more independently,” she said.

Before connecting with Ability Options, Michelle says it was difficult to find any, let alone high-quality, suitable short-term disability accommodation in their area, for reasons ranging from availability and location to staffing issues.

“Being rural can be challenging,” she said, “there’s no disability accommodation in his own community, so he travels to Coffs Harbour or Macksville”.

“These services are sometimes hard to get into as well, because many people are also looking for the same thing, which means Jarred has found it difficult to find a place to stay.

“Staffing shortages are also a big issue for short-term accommodation in the area.”

With his mum’s help, Jarred did some looking around and found out about Ability Options’ Short-Term Accommodation (STA) service at The Retreat on the Coffs Coast.


The Retreat is a part of a unique, tailored service we call STA. It offers participants and guardians a host of benefits like a chance to get away for a break and unwind, attend out of area appointments with a safe place to stay, and provide family or carers with time away from their daily routines.

With that information in mind, Michelle gave our friendly staff a call and booked Jarred in for a visit. Before he attended his stay, our teams took some time to get to know Jarred, understand his interests and hobbies, his disability and needs, and made sure they prepared his room so he would feel at home during his stay.

“Jarred can be a little shy, but when he’s in his element he is a very social person,” Michelle said.

“He really wants to be independent, so a stay at The Retreat seemed like a perfect stepping stone to help him build his confidence and have new experiences. Immediately when we arrived at The Retreat, Jarred was at ease. After getting to know Jarred, the staff at The Retreat decorated his room in Sea Eagles colours. This, along with how supportive the staff are, really helped Jarred feel comfortable.”

Michelle says her son has “really come out of his shell since his first stay at The Retreat”.

“The staff encouraged him to express himself and try new things. On their trip to the Big Banana, Jarred went down the Giant Slide – something he never would have done before!”

The other guests at The Retreat and Jarred all got along really well too. The book of memories he got to take home with him is now a treasured item.

“He’s been nagging me since he left to book another stay – so he’s coming back very soon for another visit at The Retreat,” said Michelle.

“We couldn’t be happier with the support and service we’ve received and would recommend The Retreat to anyone looking for respite accommodation.”


STA can be a real benefit to people looking to ease into independent living. If you would like to find out more about what STA can offer you or your loved ones, get in touch with our friendly teams today on 1300 422 454 or visit our Short-Term Accommodation Services page.

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