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What Is Independent Living & How Does It Work

Updated: Jul 4, 2022

The four key principles of independent living are: choice, control, freedom and equality.

Independent living was established to provide equal status and opportunity to people with disabilities - to remove the stigma of being treated as patients and objects of special care and charity, to being recognised as equal citizens that are entitled to exercise their rights and live the life they want.

Independent living care's goal is to empower and provide the same degree of independence, freedom of choice and control of how everyday life can be conducted for people with disabilities.

What Is Independent Living?

Independent living/living independently guarantees people with disabilities, regardless of the support they need, the necessary services and access to means that enables them to exercise choice and control over their daily living.

This includes equal opportunities to make personal choices and life-changing decisions that affect residential living, including the freedom to choose where to live, who to live with and most importantly how to live. The services also provide people with disabilities flexibility in how they conduct their day-to-day affairs without limiting their choices based on what they inherently can and cannot do.

Independent living care eliminates limitations by ensuring access to transportation assistance, technical and mobile aids, personal help for home management and delivery or experience of community-based services.

What Services Are Provided?

Most independent living care providers cater to personal care for people with disabilities. Here is a list of common services offered, however this may expand depending on the needs of the client or the capability of the provider:

  • Sensitive, caring companionship

  • Bathing, dressing, and grooming assistance

  • Meal planning and preparation

  • Medication reminders and prescription pick-up

  • Laundry and light housekeeping

  • Shopping and errands

  • Escort to appointments

  • Nighttime monitoring

  • Transportation assistance

  • Updating of family members

  • Respite for family caregivers

Who Needs Independent Living Services

The primary recipients of this service fall under two categories:

  1. Youth with disabilities reaching the age of majority

  2. Families needing help to care for a family member.

What To Look For In An Independent Living Care Provider

The independent living service industry is continuing to grow. People with disabilities are taking advantage of these services simply for the ability to live independently without the preconceived limitations hampering their enjoyment of living the life they choose.

When you or your family are in the midst of making the decision to invest in independent living you should discuss the following factors before deciding on a provider:

  1. Know what you need - people with disabilities have different needs and requirements, hence it is important that you know which services you are needing or are ready to outsource before you start looking for a provider. This will also cement whether you are truly ready to get into the independent living lifestyle.

  2. Compare service providers - there is a lot to consider when looking for a service provider, including; staff, company reputation, size and location, and services.

  3. Think lifestyle and culture - think ahead about how you (or your loved one) see yourself living independently. Be honest about what you can live with and without.

  4. Talk to a specialist before you decide - this will help you get an informed and tailored decision.

When deciding on a service provider it is imperative that you evaluate the following:

Get a good ‘vibe’ from the people

Regardless of the type, size and location of the provider, you want to ensure that you are comfortable with the people who will be looking after you or your loved one.

Drop by the office and talk to the workers, if you get a chance talk to some of their clients or research the company for reputation and online reviews. Inform yourself about the staff, their after hours engagement, spend time learning the process, and the people who you will be heavily relying on.

Ensure the provider is accommodating to your various needs and willing to listen to concerns and discuss the options available.

Consider size and location

There is no ‘correct’ size for independent living care providers, so it is up to you if you prefer a smaller company with a local base of operation or a bigger provider with more staff and wider coverage. Smaller companies tend to be more specific or specialised in the services they offer, whereas bigger companies offer multi-state support if you are a frequent traveller.

Service availability

People with disabilities have varying degrees of support needed, make sure the independent living care provider you choose has the needed and wanted services that you and your loved one require.

Independent living will suit you or your loved one if you enjoy living independently but also require some extra support to meet your daily needs.

If you have any questions or are interested in registering for independent living, feel free to email us at or call us for more details at 1800 254 292.

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