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Enjoying life and having fun

Everyone needs some interests in life in order to live life to is full potential. This could be taking pleasure in creating a beautiful garden or seeing new and interesting places or finding out new and interesting things or just playing cards with your friends. People with care or support needs are no different in their aspirations for life  but having a these needs can certainly make it much more difficult to meet those aspirations.

Council funded support

If you meet the eligibility criteria for help towards meeting your care then it is possible that you may be offered what is referred to as day care. This could involve attendance at a day care centre which might provide range of activities to help keep you occupied as well as subsidised meals. This is however becoming increasingly uncommon. If you have a Personal Budget it may be acceptable for you to use some of this money on helping you keep up your interests, but it depends on the agreed outcomes in your support plan,and the reason as to why the Council agreed to fund your care. If you take a Direct Payment and employ your own paid carer, then you might be able to ask them to accompany you or facilitate your participation in other ways in leisure activities or hobbies that interest you.  

Free (and nearly free) options 

It is quite possible however whether you are eligible or not that you will need to think a bit more imaginatively about how you are going to keep up your interests in life or maybe find new ones. This does not necessarily have to cost you money or maybe not much money. Voluntary organisations exist for example that will supply volunteers to accompany you to events or activities free of charge. They will also try and ensure that this volunteer has the same interests or is able to help you find out about the things you would like to find out about. At the same time if you need a carer to accompany you to activities such as the theatre or cinema then it may be possible for the carer to attend free of charge (eg the Cinema)

Physical difficulties

 It may be that the real barrier to staying involved is the difficulty of physically doing things that you used to do, due to difficulties standing, sitting, kneeling, reaching, gripping etc. This can for example be a real problem if gardening is your first love, but there is an enormous range of aids and adapted tools that are available and might mean that you can continue to do more than you imagined. Examples can be found here and through a company called enjoy-able living.

Learning & employment

 If you wish to learn a new skill or expand your mind, then the University of the Third Age is a voluntary movement that may well organise a range of stimulating activities in your area   

There are also a number of voluntary organisations who help with the provision of supported employment. Most sources of help available will be very locality-specific, and you are likely to need to make enquiries locally to follow up on any of these ideas. If you do want to find out more we suggest that you look at sources of advice and information first.

Holidays & trips 

Everybody enjoys a good holiday or trips out, but as people become less mobile or have higher care needs this can become more of a challenge.   If you're looking for somewhere to stay in England then Visit England has a National Accessible Scheme (NAS) which enables you to search for suitable accommodation.  Members are rated under three categories 

  • Mobility impaired and older people
  • Visually impaired and blind people 
  • Hearing impaired and deaf people

Accessible England - also part of the Visit England site, also gives you details for places to visit and accessible transport information.  It is worth noting that all London black cabs are wheelchair accessible.  

Many places offer free entry to carers, or in some cases companions, to those who are disabled, and it is always worth asking if this is the case when you get to an attraction or service.   

If you use a ceiling hoist, and need to find somewhere to stay then the Ceiling Hoist users Club (CHuC) could provide valuable information. 

There are also many specialist travel organisations who can arrange and provide holiday which are fully accessible.  Please see our sources of advice and information for further details.  

 As with everything else the important thing is to carefully consider what the consequences of your situation are, what you want to do about it, what you want to achieve, and what resources you have available. Then with this information make a plan

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