Introduction to Integrated or Independent Living
Many people believe that living independently is about doing everything for yourself. Therefore, if you need assistance you cannot be independent. As disabled people there is often a need for assistance in everyday life, so can disabled people really be independent?
In reality nobody truly lives independently, we all rely on the provision of power, for electricity to provide our lights and the individuals who produce the clothes that we wear. Therefore, the concept of independent living has to be challenged and clarified.
For disabled people the concept of living independently is NOT about doing everything for yourself, no-one lives in isolation from the rest of the world, we all depend on each other and this is why we all live as a society. It is a fundamental understanding of choice and control.
When disabled people are in a position to have the same choice and control over their own lives as others, true inclusion takes place. This means having access to finances and support to enable disabled people to employ their own assistants to assist them with their everyday lives, this is a good way of facilitating independence. By employing their own staff, disabled people can control how the assistance they need is provided, allowing them to lead the lifestyle of their choice.
The concept of Direct Payments was ‘invented’ by disabled people to facilitate control of the assistance they require and therefore, facilitate Independent Living.
The upcoming Transformation of Adult Social Care has brought with it The Personalisation Agenda. This agenda will help cement disabled people into society in ways they want. It provides disabled people with the opportunity to have access to Individual Budgets to be able to chose and pay for services they want and need. This includes the social side of care like leisure activities i.e. day trips, swimming and many more. This choice and control is more than just choosing what you want to do during the day, or night it's a better quality of life.