While group homes can be a great way for adults with disability to get support while living in the community, they don’t suit everyone. For some people with disability, living their best life can only happen after moving out of a group home and into independent living.
- Moving out of a group home and into your own home is a big event, but for some people, it’s just what they need to live the life they want
- There are lots of factors to consider in preparation for moving, including the location of your new home and the supports you need
- Support for your move can come from many different people, including family, friends, support workers and community members
Transitioning out of a group home and into independent living is a big move though, so we’ve put together a guide for what you might need to think about and plan for to make the move go smoothly.
Where will you live?
Location is everything! Finding a home in a location that suits the lifestyle you want to live will set you up for the best outcome.
Should your house be near a park or the beach, so that you are close to locations where you will want to spend time out and about or take part in hobbies?
Will you need a backyard? This could be important if you have an assistance animal, would like to have a pet or would like to take up gardening as a hobby.
Do you have a vehicle which you will need parking space for?
If you need access to public transport to take part in activities or employment you may need to look for a home which is near a public transport option.
Once you have an idea of what you would like do some research into where there is available housing that will be accessible for you as this also has an impact on where you can live.
Don’t forget to consider whether you will need to bring or buy your own furniture or if your home will already be fully furnished.
What supports will you need?
It’s important to think about physical supports and other services - everything from equipment you may need to get out of bed or use the bathroom to emotional support.
The supports which you receive in your group home may be able to continue in your new home, but you also might not need some of those.
For example, if the shopping and meal preparation support you have in the group home has taught you enough that you feel comfortable doing the shopping yourself and following a meal plan you no longer need support workers for those tasks and just receive support to create the meal plans.
However, there may be other supports you need to live independently that you didn’t need in the group home - such as support with social connection.
Once you’ve worked out all the supports you will need you can look into who will provide that support and scheduling when support workers will visit you.
Who can help?
Support coordinators, therapists and specialists like occupational therapists, speech pathologists and social workers can help you figure out what you will need your home to look like as well as what supports and funding you will need to live independently.
Ask other people with disability that you know if they can recommend providers, support coordinators or others you can contact.
Build up a team of people to support you throughout the moving process who will listen to what you want, be respectful of you and empower you to make decisions.
Your support people could be present in any meetings you have, such as with new providers, help you to visit your new home, provide emotional support by being someone you can tell your feelings to, and possibly provide physical support by packing or transporting your items to the new house.
Together with your support people you could also create a written plan of the steps you will take before moving and all of the things which need to be organised, so you can keep track of it.
Moving house is a big event for anyone, so have a plan for how you will cope with emotional stress as well.
Have a goal in your National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan to move out so that you can receive funding and specific supports to help you to transition to living independently.
You will need to figure out how much money you have to spend on rent, food and bills which are everyday living expenses, as some of these expenses are likely shared with other residents in your group home and it may cost you more to cover the expenses on your own.
Lots of different people might be able to help you with budgeting for these expenses, including family members, close friends, support workers, plan managers or support coordinators.
If you are moving into a rental property Centrelink can assist with your bond and other forms of support.
Do you have experience of moving home? Tell us about your story in the comments below.