Your guide to moving out of the family home

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Moving out of the family home you live in can be a big challenge, but many people have this achievement as a goal of theirs at some point in life.

Key points

  • There are many benefits to moving out of your family home
  • It’s important to think about the type of housing you will move into and where it should be located, as well as the services you will need to be able to live there
  • Form a team of people around you to support you with preparation for the move and to help on moving day

For people with disability, there can be an extra list of factors to think about and challenges to overcome to make the move successful, so we’ve put together a guide to get you started.


There are lots of different reasons why a person with disability might want to move out of their family home.

It could be a goal they’ve always had growing up, it could be to seek out new opportunities and challenges, or it could be because the family situation has changed and family members can no longer provide the same support.

Whatever the reason, moving out of home can give you:

  • Independence
  • The chance to grow your confidence
  • The opportunity to learn new skills
  • The chance to live with different people and make new friends
  • Your own space
  • More control over your daily life
  • The confidence that you will be able to live comfortably and safely if your parents or other family members are not able to look after you

Housing options

There is a wide variety of housing options in the community and it is important to research what will be the best option for you so that you can live the lifestyle you want.

You might be able to live alone in a house, non-supported or supported unit or apartment, or you might like to live with other people.

Share houses, or group homes, are a type of housing where you live with other people who have National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plans and share supports as well as living expenses like utility bills. NDIS funding in group homes is usually arranged through Supported Independent Living.

In some cases you may also be able to live with housemates, a host, friends or family members who may or may not have a disability. These kinds of flexible living arrangements can still accommodate NDIS funded supports if you need them, through Individualised Living Options.

Specialist Disability Accommodation is also available for people who need significant daily support or have extreme functional impairment and is a type of housing that is modified for people with limited mobility. Only a small proportion of people on the NDIS are eligible for this type of housing though, and it is in high demand as there are not enough accessible houses built in Australia.

With every option, you will need to consider not just whether you would be happy living in the home but also whether the location is right, the accessibility of the home, the cost of living there and whether you feel comfortable living with anyone else who lives at that home.

If you’re not sure about what type of housing would suit you best or you have questions about your housing options you could ask for help from your Local Area Coordinator, an occupational therapist or find a support coordinator who can help you throughout the process.

Support to move out

There are some complicated parts of living in your own home that you likely won’t have had experience with in your family home.

Take your time to plan everything out so that you know you are ready when it comes time to move out and have everything in place that you need.

If you need to learn new skills to help you to live independently you can start learning these while still living with your family so that there is less to think about and adjust to when you move.

What can you do already, what can you learn before the move by trying new things and what else do you need support with?

Working on these skills could be as simple as going shopping with your family to see what they usually buy from the supermarket and to practise following a shopping list.

For some new skills, you might also be able to get funding in your NDIS plan and have a support worker start working on the skill with you before you move out, then keep working with you until you don’t need them anymore, for example, to learn how to use public transport so that you can access the community independently from your new home.

If you will be renting or sharing the rent of your new home with housemates you will need to learn about signing a lease agreement or similar paperwork and regularly paying your rent.

Even if you are not renting you will need to make sure you have enough money to pay for expenses like food or medication, so you might need to work out a monthly budget based on monthly income to guide your spending.

Many people can help you to prepare for your move, including family members, friends, support workers and allied health professionals like occupational therapists, plus support coordinators and NDIS plan managers if you have them.

The best way these people can support you is to make sure you are making decisions about what you want to happen with the move, you have access to the physical supports and services that you know you need – not just what everyone else thinks you need – and that you can manage and talk about your feelings around the move.

Good support people will enable you to achieve your goals, encourage you along the way and help you to have the most positive experience possible.

Moving day

Moving out of your parents’ house, or family home, is a big event.

When you leave home for the first time it can be exciting, nerve-wracking, scary or stressful.

To manage these emotions you might plan to trial just a day visit or an overnight stay at your new home first, then build up the amount of time you spend there until you are comfortable moving in full time.

Another option is to have someone you love and trust – a family member, close friend or maybe a favourite support worker – stay with you at your new home for the first night.

Part of your planning for the move should be to organise who will help you to install your furniture or unpack your personal items. This can be a big job so having someone, or multiple people, booked in to physically help you move will relieve some of the stress of the situation.

Think about what you will eat on the first night as well and having the right supplies in the house – such as dishwashing and cleaning products, or toilet paper. It could be beneficial to go shopping the day before you move, and to take a support person with you who can make sure you buy everything you need.

Are you planning to move out? Tell us what stage of the process you’re at in the comments below and subscribe to Talking Disability for the latest news.

Related content:
Understanding Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)
Individualised Living Options funding explained
What is Supported Independent Living (SIL)? Your questions answered