You might decide to move out of your family home as you get older. You could live by yourself, with friends, or with people of a similar age or disability.
Before you decide, we recommend talking to your family, friends, or a trusted adult.
Paying for your home
To move into your own house, you have to be able to afford it. You'll have to pay bills for:
- rent or mortgage repayments
- Council Tax
- electricity and heating
- weekly food shop
- TV subscription.
You could pay your bills with:
- 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 including your:
- bedroom (bedding, duvets and pillows)
- kitchen (kettles, microwaves, knives and forks, pots and pans)
- living room (sofa, chairs and 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 the local district council.
For extra support, you can:
- read a guide to council homes (easy read)
- visit Scope's website to find out how to apply for accessible council housing
- find council housing in Kent.
You can rent or buy a private flat or house.
When you rent privately, you'll pay a landlord every four weeks. Whether you rent for a year or longer is up to you. The properties aren't always adapted to your needs.
If you want to buy a house, you'll 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.
For extra support you can:
- read a guide to your rights when renting a property (easy read)
- visit Scope's website to find out how to ask your landlord for changes to your home.
Residential care homes provide both housing and personal care.
A person with a learning disability will have a room in a building shared with a number of other people. There are usually 4 to 8 people in residential care homes.
They'll help you with washing, dressing, and giving medicine. They can also help you with eating meals and keeping you moving to stay 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.
For extra support you can:
- read a guide to choosing the right care home (easy read)
- read a guide to the government's change for how to pay for care homes (easy read)
- visit the NHS website to learn about care homes.
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
- 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.
Supported housing may be right for you if you think living alone might be hard, and you don't need 24 hour care.
In supported housing, you live in a small area with a dedicated care staff. Staff are available to help you during certain hours of the day or night. Some of our supported housing properties have alarms in case you need help right away.
In most cases, you'll have your own small flat or room and also have access to common areas.
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.
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
- installing a Kara video device
- 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:
Getting the right support for you
If you feel that you are still not getting the right support in your new home and you feel that you're not being listened to, the Advocacy Team can help you. They will support you to make sure that your views are heard and respected, and can help you with big decisions.
Find out more about the Advocacy Service.
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:
- scrambled eggs
- cottage pie
- chilli con carne
- mac and cheese
- toad in the hole
- spaghetti bolognese
- fish pie
- chicken korma
- chow mein.
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.