Living in your own home has some real benefits, including privacy, freedom to do things when you want and confidence that you can look after yourself. And, once you are established in your own home which has your name on the tenancy agreement or title, you get to decide who provides any support you need. Here are some things to consider when living independently with a disability.
Grow your community connections
Get to know your neighbours – you never know when you might need their help and most people are happy to carry out small favours from time to time, for example, if you need help carrying in a parcel or just need to borrow a cup of sugar! You can introduce yourself face-to-face or there are also online resources available for getting to know your local community such as Neighbourly or suburban/local Facebook groups you can join. In some areas, you can also trade any useful skills you have on Timebank get the help you need for free.
Many people with disabilities prefer to get their support from people and organisations which they naturally come into contact with through their own connections – rather than a service-based approach. Developing a mutual relationship with someone else – where you can both help each other – can often have the best outcome. For example, if you want to attend a hobby group that you can’t get transport to – why not call the organiser and see if anyone else attending is willing to pick you up? You could say thanks by helping with petrol or doing some extra club admin duties. These sorts of reciprocal relationships can often lead to other great community connections.
Is your home fit for purpose?
Everyone wants to feel safe and comfortable in their own home. If you need to modify your home so it is easier to get around, visit our My Independence section on Home Modifications.
Do you need personal care and help around the house?
If you live independently and meet certain criteria you may be able to receive Home and Community Support Services. These are funded by Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People to help with household management (cooking, laundry, house-cleaning) and personal care (eating, dressing, bathing, going to the toilet, and getting around your home). If you feel you need this sort of support, you should talk to your local NASC who will assess what support you need to live an everyday life. If eligible, they will help you choose a local disability services provider/s contracted on your behalf (you can find a list of all Home and Community Support Services providers on the Home and Community Healthcare Association website). Find out more about Home and Community Support Services or talk to your local NASC.
If you are not eligible for Government funding, you may still wish to employ a carer or home-based help. You could advertise yourself, or use a service like MyCare or Manawanui e-Mploy to help match you with a carer who will suit your needs.
Do you need other support and life skills development?
If so, you might be eligible for Supported Living – a service, funded by Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People, that helps disabled people to live independently by providing support in areas of their life where help is needed. If you meet the criteria, a tailored package of support will be created with you to help you to meet your goals in day-to-day life. This could include help with daily tasks like shopping, budgeting and support in the community, including help with meetings and dealing with Government agencies. The plan is to help you learn new skills and gain confidence so you will rely less on formal support. Supported Living will be provided by a local disability services organisation contracted on your behalf.
Supported Living cannot be used to support you with personal care, household management, rehabilitation or vocational services. Find out more about Supported Living from your NASC or on the Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People website.