Living options

House shaped key chain with silver keys isolated on white

Setting up and maintaining a great living situation for your adult child, or person you care for, can take a lot of energy, organisation and – often – creative thinking.  Key questions to ask the person you care for are: Where do you want to live? Who do you want to live with? What support do you need? These days there are many options to consider – from flatting with friends, through to fully-supported residential care.  What’s important is that there is back-up and assistance when needed, as well as a suitable housing and living environment. Here’s some information about living options for people with disabilities.

Get advice on what living options might work best

Your local  Needs Assessment Service Coordination organisation (NASC) can help give input to help you decide what living options are good options. You may also be eligible for Individualised funding (IF) which enables disabled people and their families to directly manage disability supports, such as household management and personal care. In the Hutt Valley, Southland and Bay of Plenty you can access Local Area Coordination, which offers supports disabled people and their families/whanau to assist them to live good, everyday lives within welcoming communities, hapu and marae.  Other organisations that could help are your local Disability Information Advisory Service (including our team at Life Unlimited on 0800 011 008) and other disability support organisations.  It’s never too early to start planning – so start thinking about adult living options from the early teen years if possible. Check out our transition section for more details and ideas for learning life skills. 

Consider new approaches
Some regions in New Zealand now offer new programmes and initiatives that use the New Model for disability support – offering greater choice, control and flexibility. These include Local Area Coordination, Enhanced Individualised Funding, Choice in Community Living, Supported Self-Assessment and Enabling Good Lives. Read more about these programmes.

Create a Circle of Support
A great tool to help with living options is to create a Circle of Support, including the key people for the person you support, like friends, sports team members, family, work colleagues and key workers. You could invite the people in the Circle to get together regularly to discuss goals and the best ways of achieving them.   Use a map to plot where the support people live, or the locations where you visit them, to see what areas and locations might be the most practical for your child to live. It is a good idea create your Circle of Support as early as possible so the support people can help plan any changes – and the Circle could also help the person you support to find the best place to live.  Read more about circles of support on the Te Pou website or have a look at this manual from Australian organisation Resourcing Families. By the way, a Circle of Support can be called whatever you like – it could be just Charlie’s Coffee Group if you all like to meet at a café.

This is an example of a Circle of Support template.

Look at the living options available
There is such a range of different living options available, with different levels of support, including home-based help.