What does being in charge of your life mean?

Posted 2 months ago by David McManus
Taking charge doesn’t mean success, it might not even mean positivity or independence. [Source: Shutterstock]
Taking charge doesn’t mean success, it might not even mean positivity or independence. [Source: Shutterstock]

Do you take charge of your life as a person with disability?

Key points:

  • One in six people in Australia lives with disability
  • Disability is a multi-dimensional concept that involves the interaction between a health condition and environmental, along with personal factors
  • 76.6 percent of people identifying as requiring assistance live with family and 19.4 percent live alone


Taking charge in your life is not a one-time thing, as self-advocacy is a multi-faceted process that involves learning, growing adapting and asking for support whenever necessary.

This involves you stepping up to the plate and informing others about important issues that are relevant to you and your condition. Others may not be aware of your condition, any struggles that arise as a result of your disability and any adjustments that may need to be made in order to accommodate your living situation, working conditions or essential tasks.

Keep the following in mind:

  • learning — as educating yourself and others about your condition can clear the air, facilitate open communication and work around challenges;
  • communicating — as standing up for yourself and letting your voice be heard can allow you to deal with issues quickly and efficiently;
  • asking for help — no one can get through life alone and with ease, but most people are kind enough to help out or know where to direct their efforts.


There are monumental moments in life that require you to take charge and attempt something new, whether it’s moving out of home for the first time, settling in at a new job or learning new skills for yourself.

Taking charge of your life means showing initiative and taking responsibility for the outcome of your efforts. This can mean developing a sense of endurance — acknowledging that a university test didn’t get the best grade and striving to do better rather than feeling defeated, burning a meal and then properly cooking the next one, et cetera.

It’s inevitable that when we take charge, we’re holding ourselves accountable, which can feel great during moments of success or progress but terrible during moments of error or vulnerability.

Having someone watch over your shoulder when attempting to do something for the first time and offer you advice can be beneficial and set you up for future independence. ‘Independence’ is sacred, but the path to independence is recognising where you need to collaborate, what you need to ask for help with and how to secure support.

In 2021, 1,464,415 people with disability in Australia were identified as requiring assistance with core activities. That is, they needed assistance with at least one of the core activities of self-care, communication and mobility.

The latest available census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics found 89.2 percent of people with a need for assistance lived in a private household, a slight increase from 86.2 percent in 2016. Among those with a need for assistance living in a private household:

  • just over three-quarters lived in a family household compared to 86.7 percent of people without a need for assistance;
  • two in 10 lived in a lone-person household compared to one in 10 people without a need for assistance.


The remaining 10.8 percent of people with a need for assistance were living in a non-private dwelling, of these:

  • most — 92.7 percent — were aged 65 years or over;
  • most — 92.7 percent — lived in a nursing home or accommodation for the retired or aged, reflecting the older age profile of this group.


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