Moving out

As you grow older, you may start to want to live more independently and choose to move out of your family home. You could choose to live on your own, with your friends, with others of a similar age or others of a similar disability.

It's up to you what you want to do, but we advise that you talk with family, friends or a trusted adult before choosing.

Paying for your home

To be able to move out and into your own home, you need to be able to pay to live there. This means that you will need to pay bills for your:

  • weekly or monthly rent or a repayment of a mortgage
  • electricity and heating
  • water
  • phone
  • internet
  • weekly food shop
  • TV subscription.

To pay your bills, you could use money from:

  • your wages from your job
  • housing benefit
  • income support
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independent Payment (PIP).

You may also need to buy for your home:

  • bedroom items, for example, bedding, duvets and pillows
  • kitchen items, for example, kettles, microwave, knives and forks, pots and pans
  • living room items, for example, sofa, chairs, a tv.

Find out more about money management and what benefits are available to you.

Types of homes

Once you have worked out whether you can afford to move out, the next step is to decide what type of home you want to move into. In Kent you could choose to live in one of the following homes:

A council house or flat is owned by your local borough or district council. If you choose to live in a council house or flat, the rent you pay to live there will be less than other homes.

You can usually stay there for a long time, as long as you keep up with your payments.

To apply for a council house or flat, you need to contact your local borough or district council. To find out who they are enter your postcode into the government's website.

Extra help

For extra support, you can:

A private flat or a house can either be rented or bought.

If you choose to rent privately, this means that you will pay a landlord money every 4 weeks. Usually renting is for up to one year, however it can be for longer if you choose to.

It is owned by the landlord and often not fitted with special adaptations to support your needs.

If you choose to buy a home, you will need a mortgage. HOLD (Home Ownership for people with Long-Term Disabilities) is a government scheme which gives people with long-term disabilities an opportunity to purchase a Shared Ownership home and live independently.

Find out more about HOLD.

Extra help

For extra support you can:

A residential care home provides accommodation together with personal care. A person with a learning disability will have a room in a building shared with a number of other people. 24 hour care will be provided on site and meals will be included. Most residential care homes house between 4 and 8 people.

They will generally provide personal care and support such as help with washing, dressing and giving medication. Further assistance can be given, such as helping to eat meals and promoting mobility to keep agile. Some care homes are registered to meet a specific care need such as dementia or terminal illness and end of life care.

Find out more about care homes.

Extra help

For extra support you can:

If you don't want to live in a care home and you feel that you cannot manage life in your own home you could take part in Shared Lives.

Shared Lives is available to those who have:

  • learning disabilities
  • physical disabilities
  • autism
  • Asperger's
  • sensory impairments.

Shared Lives lets you share a home with another person, a couple or a family. You become part of the local community and can always be sure of having company and opportunities to make new friends, while keeping your independence.

Shared Lives is somewhere safe and supportive for you to stay at the times that suit you, whether it's for a few hours during the day or evening, overnight, for a weekend or even longer.

Find out more about Shared Lives.

If you think that living alone might be difficult, and you don't need 24 hour residential care, then supported housing may be right for you, if you are over the age of 18.

Supported housing means you would live in a small area of housing which is managed by dedicated care staff. Staff would be available to help you during certain times of the day and night (times will vary between sites) and some of our supported housing properties also have personal or community alarms in case you need to call for help urgently.

Most of the time, you would have your own small flat or room to yourself and also be able to use a communal area.

If you think supported housing would be right for you, speak to your case manager or contact us for an assessment.

Supported living is a way of helping anyone over the age of 18 with learning disabilities to have the opportunity to live as independently as possible.

If you do not want to live in a care home, and you feel that you would not be able to cope on your home then supported living might the right option for you.

There are 2 options:

  • sharing a house or flat where other people get the same help as you
  • having your own house or flat with the support you need there.

Each of these options is made up of suitable or adapted accommodation with additional personal care suited to your needs. Your care manager will work with you to determine which is the best option for you.

Find out more about supported living.

Find supported living in Kent.

Read Mencap's pros and cons guide to all housing options.

Changing your home to suit your needs

You may need to have equipment put in your home to help you stay independent. This could be:

  • hoists or transfer aids
  • walking or bathing aids
  • adjustable beds
  • a ramp for your wheelchair
  • grab rails.

AskSARA Kent provides impartial advice about equipment to help make daily living easier. This website asks simple questions to identify which equipment may be able to help you and will then provide you with some suggestions and link you to where you can purchase it.

Watch this video to find out how others have chosen to change their home to suit their needs.

You have every right to request accessible changes to your home, to find out more you can:

Looking after your home

It is important that you look after your home. To do this, you will need to:

  • learn to cook
  • wash your clothes
  • making your bed
  • hoover and dust
  • wash the dishes
  • clean the bathroom
  • change your bedsheets.

If you feel that you need help to look after your help, contact the Kent Pathways Service.

Learning to cook

Whether you choose to live alone or live with someone else, it's really important to be able to cook and learn a new life skill. Cooking allows you to find what foods you like and don't like and it should be fun!

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best. This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions to maintain a healthy body weight.

Watch these great accessible videos to help you to learn to cook simple and healthy meals:

Find out more about eating healthy by visiting the NHS website. If you need any equipment to help you to cook, visit Ask Sara to find out what's available for you.