The five most important questions to discuss as a family before seeking supported living for your loved one
Whether you’re thinking about support for someone who will be leaving home for the first time, moving from another location or simply seeking greater independence, we’ve shared our suggestions on the most important things to think about and discuss as a family.
Location: Where would your loved one like to live?
Finding the right location for your loved one is a key part of helping them live with greater independence. Many of the people we support choose to live close to friends and family, but others have taken the opportunity to discover a new town or city, sometimes moving closer to favourite places such as the coast.
Lifeways have locations across the UK, and we do everything we can to ensure that we place individuals as close to their preferred location as possible. If you’d like to learn more about the types of locations available at Lifeways, you can browse our available support.
Questions to think about:
- What local amenities are important for your loved one to be close to? For example, they may like to go to the cinema or swimming regularly.
- How does your loved one get out and about - would they need parking, or to be close to public transport links?
- Would it be beneficial for your loved one to be close to any local groups or community centres that they are / would like to be involved in?
Environment: What kind of home environment will suit your loved one best?
Supported living offers lots of choice when it comes to living environments, whether that’s the type of accommodation (at Lifeways, we offer shared houses and self-contained apartments), number of housemates, or additional features such as assistive technology or wet room-style bathrooms. There will also naturally be different atmospheres in each location - some are more lively and sociable, and others have a more relaxed and peaceful feel.
As part of the process, your social worker and supported living provider will spend time to understand your loved one’s needs and preferences to find the right location for them. So it’s good to have a think beforehand about what’s important to them.
Shared housing is particularly suited to those who are happy to share their living space with housemates and would prefer to have others around them. We always endeavour to match each person with like-minded people, to ensure they are compatible housemates and will be happy living together.
For those who’d prefer more of their own space, our self-contained apartments still have communal areas for people to socialise in, but there’s much more opportunity for alone time and independent living - with the Lifeways team on hand to help with anything your loved one might need.
Questions to think about:
- Would they prefer to live with housemates, or have more of an independent setting?
- Would they be best suited to a lively, social environment, or a quieter, more peaceful setting?
Adam grew in confidence after moving into South Drive - a purpose-built supported living service outside Liverpool. Before the move Adam lived in his own flat with little support, and as a result didn’t feel safe or happy.
“I am not isolated as I was before. This is because of the support the Lifeways team has given me. When I’m unsure of issues such as dealing with letters and bills, staff are on hand to offer me help,” Adam said.
Adaptations: Is there anything that will make your loved one feel safe, more independent and confident in their home?
Some people need adaptations made to their home to live safely, comfortably and with greater independence.
When it comes to the property itself, your loved one may require level access, a wet room-style bathroom, or perhaps access to lower-level work surfaces. At Lifeways, many of our locations have already been, or can be, adapted with assistive technology to meet individual needs.
Ahead of your conversation with your social worker, note down any additional support that your loved one may require, such as guidance with paying bills, cooking, or taking public transport, for example, as this will all be taken into consideration when building their personalised support plan.
Interests: How could supported living enable your loved one to lead a happy, fulfilling life?
At Lifeways, we support and encourage each person to enjoy spending time the way they choose. So it’s good to know their likes, interests and aspirations, so we can help shape our support around them.
Think about their everyday life, and the things that make them happy. It might be a daily walk, playing football, knitting, visiting the local shops, or volunteering. You might also have certain goals your loved one is / would like to work towards, such as learning to cook, travelling on public transport alone, or meeting new people - whatever they may be, it’s good to discuss these goals as something to work towards once your loved one has settled into their new home.
It’s also good to think about any ‘deal breakers’, for example, whether or not they’d be comfortable with pets in the home because of an allergy or fear.
Future: How do you and your loved one see their future looking?
Moving on to more independent living is an exciting next chapter in your loved one’s life, but we understand it can come with worries or concerns about ‘letting go’ of the responsibility. It’s therefore good to think about your loved one’s future, and where you’d like to see them in five or ten years, which should help you shape any questions you might have for your social worker or supported living provider.
Beattie moved into her own flat in North Walsham, and despite her parent’s initial concerns, they were also filled with a great deal of hope.
Beattie’s mum Maxine said, “Beattie got to choose her flat, and Tristan (the Manager at St Thomas House) was available to talk through anything we needed to know, and kept in touch with us all the way through the process.”
“Beattie is just so much happier here. She’s developing her life skills including cleaning, washing up, and all those things you think your child is never going to do. There are so many other young people who could really benefit from this kind of place.”
If and when you decide the time is right for your loved one to make a move towards greater independence, our friendly team will be on hand to help you every step of the way. Whether you’re ready to take the next step, or you’d just like to ask a few questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.