Living independently

Living independently should be a reality for disabled people 

Living independently

Disabled people’s experiences of social care
Read our report
Read our report

What does living independently mean?

Living independently means having choice and control over all aspects of your life. This might involve choosing where you live, enjoying time with family and friends, taking part in community activities, studying, training and working. 

Living independently does not mean living alone without support. It means having the support which enables you to do these sorts of things – when and how you want to. 

Why is social care important?

Social care is the support which should enable disabled people to live independently. It is support to get up, get dressed and get out of the house. This might be: 
  • Support bathing or eating
  • Communication support, for example a sign language interpreter 
  • Support in the wider world, for example someone with a learning difficulty might need a support worker to enable them to navigate a new area or a new routine.
Social care is not health care: it does not treat or cure people, but allows people to go about their daily lives with the conditions and impairments they have. 

Disabled people are a third of social care users and their support is just under half of all social care spending.

The importance of social care in promoting wellbeing and independence is recognised in the new Care Act 2014.  

Disabled people’s independence is at risk. Over half of disabled people who use social care cannot get the support they need to live independently. Only one in six disabled social care users under 35 have enough support working or job-seeking.  

Support services must be effectively joined up

Joining up public services – especially health and social care – so that they run more effectively is a key Government priority. Good join up could dramatically improve support for disabled people, but current programmes are not focusing enough on disabled people’s needs and aspirations. 

Scope is calling on the Government to design future integration programmes around supporting disabled people to live independently. Read our report, Our Support Our Lives.

Scope is part of the Care and Support Alliance