Kerri-Anne Kennerley spent $2 million caring for husband John after fall left him paralysed


Kerri-Anne Kennerley has revealed the devastating financial toll of caring for her late husband John after a tragic fall in 2016 left him wheelchair bound.

Speaking to The Courier Mail on Saturday, the TV host, 67, said that she spent $2million dollars on John’s care until his death at age 78. 

She’s now encouraging Australians to launch a class action lawsuit against the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), calling their age limits ‘heartless’. 

Hard: Kerri-Anne Kennerley has revealed the devastating financial toll of caring for her late husband John after a tragic fall in 2016 left him wheelchair bound. Pictured in June 2018

Those who join NDIS before the age of 65 can access care for life, however those who become disabled after 65 must rely on aged care services.

‘It’s dreadfully unfair. My husband, through an accident that was no fault of his own, became a quadriplegic but the only help I could get from the government was aged care,’ she told the paper.

‘He was entitled to eight or nine hours a week of care, even though he was assessed as needing a minimum of 53 hours a week,’ she added.

Cost: Speaking to The Courier Mail on Saturday, the TV host, 67, said that she spent $2 million dollars on John's care until his death at age 78

Cost: Speaking to The Courier Mail on Saturday, the TV host, 67, said that she spent $2 million dollars on John’s care until his death at age 78 

Kerri-Anne told the paper that John had seven-day-a-week nursing care for three-and-a-half-years before his death in 2019, with the cost running into the millions. 

According to an Age Discrimination Act amendment in 2013, it is legal for NDIS to access participants based on age.  

‘I would encourage anyone over 65 in a similar position to sue the government in terms of age discrimination,’ Kerri-Anne told the paper.   

Limits: She's now encouraging Australians to launch a class action lawsuit against the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), calling their age limits 'heartless'. The couple are pictured at the Logies in April 2017

Limits: She’s now encouraging Australians to launch a class action lawsuit against the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), calling their age limits ‘heartless’. The couple are pictured at the Logies in April 2017

NDIS Minister Linda Reynolds told The Courier Mail in a statement:  ‘The NDIS is not intended to replace services already provided through the health or aged care systems.’   

Kerri-Anne’s beloved husband John died at the age of 78 in February 2019, after a tragic fall in 2016. 

He was left paralysed after falling from a balcony while taking photos of Kerri-Anne during a golfing tournament in Coffs Harbour, NSW, in March 2016.

Care: 'It's dreadfully unfair. My husband, through an accident that was no fault of his own, became a quadriplegic but the only help I could get from the government was aged care,' she told the paper

Care: ‘It’s dreadfully unfair. My husband, through an accident that was no fault of his own, became a quadriplegic but the only help I could get from the government was aged care,’ she told the paper

He was airlifted to hospital with spinal chord injuries. Doctors operated on his neck after it emerged he had fractured his C3 and C4 vertebrae.

John was put in an induced coma, spent six weeks in intensive care and had multiple operations. Doctors diagnosed him as an incomplete quadriplegic.

They initially warned that John may never again move or speak, but with Kerri-Anne by his side, he managed both.

Struggle: 'He was entitled to eight or nine hours a week of care, even though he was assessed as needing a minimum of 53 hours a week,' she added

Struggle: ‘He was entitled to eight or nine hours a week of care, even though he was assessed as needing a minimum of 53 hours a week,’ she added

‘[Kerri-Anne] is very loving and she has been the strength of my whole recovery,’ John said in a rare Sunday Night interview in 2017.

‘Without her I don’t think I would have attempted it but, as I say, she was there when I woke up and she has been with me every day,’ John explained. ‘It is really, really been hard… I have appreciated it, she never faltered. Never faltered.’  

After John’s fall, Kerri-Anne immediately took on the role of carer, and gave an update on his condition in June last year.  

‘He needs care 24/7, he still can’t push a button and can’t feed himself, but the rest of his health is good,’ she told New Idea after the fall.

Tragic: Kerri-Anne's beloved husband John died at the age of 78 in February 2019, after a tragic fall in 2016. He was left paralysed after falling from a balcony while taking photos of Kerri-Anne during a golfing tournament in Coffs Harbour, NSW, in March 2016. Pictured in 2013

Tragic: Kerri-Anne’s beloved husband John died at the age of 78 in February 2019, after a tragic fall in 2016. He was left paralysed after falling from a balcony while taking photos of Kerri-Anne during a golfing tournament in Coffs Harbour, NSW, in March 2016. Pictured in 2013

At the time she said her husband’s injury required a huge lifestyle adjustment for the pair, but they still did their best to do a lot of what they’ve always enjoyed.

‘We still like to have a good time, we like to chat, we read the newspaper – we discuss events… we just can’t go out like we used to,’ she said.

Kerri-Anne modified their home after the fall, installing purpose-built ramps to make life easier for John upon his return in November 2016 – eight months after the fall. 

The couple tied the knot at the Sydney Opera House in 1984 and were married for an incredible 35 years.   

Lifetime: The couple tied the knot at the Sydney Opera House in 1984 and were married for an incredible 35 years

 Lifetime: The couple tied the knot at the Sydney Opera House in 1984 and were married for an incredible 35 years



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