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Supported living

Affinity Trust is a leading charity dedicated to providing supported living services for people with learning disabilities and autistic people in the United Kingdom.

What is supported living?

Supported living is a person-centred approach to housing and support that enables people to live independently within their communities. Unlike traditional residential care settings, supported living promotes autonomy, choice, and inclusion by offering flexible support tailored to each person's preferences and needs.

We support people to lead meaningful lives on their own terms. Our supported living services focus on promoting independence, enhancing social connections, and achieving personal growth. We work closely with person to develop personalised support plan and review it regularly together with the person supported and the key people involved in their life.

What are the benefits of supported living?

Person-centred support

Every person is unique, and their support should be too. This is why we provide personalised support plans tailored to each person's strengths, preferences, and aspirations. Whether someone requires assistance with daily tasks, communication skills, or building connections in their community, our dedicated support team is there to help.

Choice and control

We believe in the importance of autonomy and self-determination. Our supported living services empower people to make their own choices and decisions about all aspects of their lives, including where they live, who they live with, and how they spend their time.

Active members of our communities

We are committed to helping people with learning disabilities and autistic people become active and valued members of their communities. Through social activities, volunteering and employment opportunities, and partnership initiatives, we support people to build meaningful relationships and develop a sense of belonging.

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What is the difference between residential and supported living?

While both residential care and supported living provide accommodation and support for people with learning disabilities and autistic adults, the key differences lie in the level of support, independence, and choice offered.

Residential care offers 24/7 support in a structured environment, whereas supported living promotes individualised support, independence, and community integration. At Affinity Trust, we specialise in providing supported living services that empower individuals to live fulfilling lives on their own terms.

My support worker always listens to me and I am always given options of what I would like to do. I feel safe and comfortable and am looked after well.
Jay, supported by Affinity Trust

Who has tenancy in supported living?

Tenancy typically belongs to the person receiving support rather than the support provider in supported living arrangements. This means the person with a learning disability or autistic adult holds the tenancy agreement for their accommodation, giving them legal rights and responsibilities as a tenant.

At Affinity Trust, we believe in promoting independence and empowering people to make decisions about their living arrangements. We support individuals to secure their own tenancy agreements, whether that involves renting a property independently, living in a shared household with other tenants, or accessing supported accommodation with the necessary support in place.

Having tenancy rights gives people control over their living environment, including choices about their home, who they live with, and how they decorate their space. It also ensures that they have legal protections as tenants, such as the right to privacy, the right to challenge unfair eviction, and the right to access repairs and maintenance services.

Frequently asked questions about Supported Living

How are people with complex needs supported in supported living?

Reveal answers

Supported living is a person-centred approach to housing and support that can be adapted to meet the unique needs of people with complex needs, including those with profound learning disabilities or multiple disabilities.

At Affinity Trust, we are committed to providing tailored support that addresses the diverse needs and abilities of every person we support. Here's how supported living is adapted for people with complex needs:

Specialised Support Teams

People with complex needs often require specialised support from staff who have experience and training in working with individuals with disabilities. Our support teams undergo comprehensive training to ensure they have the skills and knowledge needed to meet the complex needs of the people they support.

Individualised Support Plans

 We work closely with the person, their families, and other stakeholders to develop individualised support plans that address their specific needs, preferences, and goals. These support plans are regularly reviewed and updated to ensure they remain responsive to the person’s changing needs and circumstances.

Multi-Disciplinary Approach

 Supporting people with complex needs often requires a multi-disciplinary approach involving professionals from various disciplines, such as occupational therapists, speech therapists, behaviour specialists, and healthcare professionals. We collaborate closely with these professionals to provide holistic support that addresses all aspects of a person’s well-being.

Adapted Accommodation

Accommodation in supported living settings is adapted to meet the specific needs of people with complex needs. This may include features such as wheelchair accessibility, sensory rooms, hoists and lifts, and specialized equipment to support mobility, communication, and personal care.

24/7 Support

People with complex needs may require round-the-clock support to ensure their safety, well-being, and access to support. Our  teams are available 24/7 to provide assistance and support as needed, including overnight support for people who require it.

Positive Behaviour Support

People with complex needs may exhibit challenging behaviours that require specialised interventions and support strategies. We use a positive behaviour support approach to understand the underlying reasons for challenging behaviours and develop proactive strategies to promote positive outcomes and improve quality of life.

Healthcare Coordination

People with complex needs often have complex healthcare needs that require ongoing coordination and support. We work closely with healthcare professionals to ensure people receive the medical care, therapy, and support services they need to maintain their health and well-being.

What type of accommodation is best for supported living?

Reveal answers

Supported living is all about providing people with learning disabilities and autistic adults the opportunity to live as independently as possible while receiving the support they need. The type of accommodation that is best for supported living varies depending on each person’s needs, preferences, and level of independence.

Some common types of accommodation options for supported living are:

  • Individual Flats or Apartments: For people who prefer privacy and autonomy, renting or owning their own flat or apartment can be ideal. This type of accommodation allows people to have their own space while still accessing support as needed.
  • Shared Houses:Shared housing arrangements involve people with similar support needs living together in a shared household. This option provides companionship, social interaction, and opportunities for shared activities while still allowing for some level of privacy and independence.
  • Supported Accommodation:Supported accommodation refers to properties specifically designed or adapted to meet the specific requirements for people with complex needs. These properties may include additional features such as wheelchair accessibility, sensory rooms, or staff accommodation onsite to provide 24/7 support if necessary.
  • Supported Living Schemes: Supported living schemes offer a combination of individualised support and communal living within a purpose-built or adapted complex. These schemes often include on-site staff support, communal areas for socialising and activities, and access to additional services and amenities.

The best type of accommodation for supported living depends on factors such as the individual's support needs, preferences for social interaction, level of independence, and budget. At Affinity Trust, we work closely with individuals and their support networks to assess their housing needs and preferences and find the most suitable accommodation option for them.

Who pays for supported living?

Reveal answers

Supported living services for people with learning disabilities or autistic adults are typically funded through a combination of sources, depending on a person’s circumstances and needs. The main funding sources for supported living tend to be a combination of the following:

  • Local Authority Funding:In many cases, the local authority (council) is responsible for funding supported living services for people with assessed care and support needs. This funding may come from the adult social care budget and is allocated based on an individual's eligibility for support as determined through a needs assessment and financial assessment.
  • Personal Budgets, Individual Service Funds or Direct Payments: People who are eligible for supported living services may receive a personal budget from the local authority to cover the cost of their support. A personal budget gives people greater control and flexibility in choosing and managing their support services, including hiring their own support workers or purchasing services from approved providers.
  • Housing Benefit: People living in supported accommodation may be eligible to receive housing benefit to help cover the cost of their rent. Housing benefit is a government subsidy provided to people on low incomes or those receiving certain benefits to help with housing costs.
  • Individual Contributions:In some cases, a person may be required to contribute towards the cost of their supported living services based on their income and financial resources. This contribution is determined through a financial assessment conducted by the local authority.
  • Third-Party Funding:  In addition to statutory funding from the local authority, some individuals may receive funding from other sources, such as the NHS or family members, to supplement their support needs.

It's important to note that the funding arrangements for supported living can vary depending on factors such as the person's age, assessed needs, financial situation, and local authority policies. At Affinity Trust, we work closely with individuals, their families, and local authorities to ensure that appropriate funding arrangements are in place to support individuals to live fulfilling lives in their chosen accommodations.

How are people supported when moving into supported living?

Reveal answers

Transitioning into supported living can be a significant change for people with learning disabilities or autistic adults and it's essential to ensure a smooth and supported transition process. At Affinity Trust, we understand the importance of providing personalised support to people as they move into supported living arrangements. Here's how we support people transitioning into supported living:

Person-Centred Planning

We start by conducting thorough assessments and person-centred planning sessions to understand each person’s unique needs, preferences, and aspirations. This allows us to tailor our support to meet their specific requirements and ensure a smooth transition.

Transition Support

 Our dedicated support team works closely with each person, their families, and other relevant stakeholders to develop a transition plan that outlines the steps involved in the move to supported living. We provide guidance and support throughout the transition process, addressing any concerns or questions people may have along the way.

Housing Options

 We assist people in exploring different housing options based on their preferences and support needs. This may involve arranging coordinating with landlords or housing providers and ensuring that the chosen accommodation meets the person’s unique accessibility and safety requirements.

Practical Support

 We provide practical assistance with tasks such as packing, moving, and setting up the new living environment. Our support workers are on hand to offer guidance and support with unpacking belongings, organising the space, and familiarising each person with their new surroundings.

Emotional Support

Moving to supported living can be an emotional experience, and we understand the importance of providing emotional support during this transition period. Our support workers offer reassurance, encouragement, and a listening ear to help people adjust to their new living arrangements and address any feelings of anxiety or uncertainty.

Community Integration

 We support people to build connections and engage with their new community, whether that involves joining local clubs and activities, attending community events, or accessing support services and resources in the area.

Ongoing Support

Transitioning into supported living is just the beginning of the journey. We continue to provide ongoing support to people to help them settle into their new home, develop independence skills, and achieve their personal goals.

What assistive technology is used in supported living?

Reveal answers

Assistive technology plays a crucial role in supported living by helping people with learning disabilities or autistic adults to live more independently and safely in their homes. Here are some examples of assistive technology commonly used in supported living settings:

Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS)

PERS, also known as panic buttons or alarm systems, allow individuals to call for help in case of emergencies, such as falls, accidents, or medical emergencies. These systems typically consist of a wearable device or wall-mounted button that connects to a monitoring centre or support team’s smartphone.

Smart Home Devices

Smart home technology, such as voice-controlled assistants (e.g., Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant), smart thermostats, and smart lighting, can be used to automate tasks and control home environments more efficiently. These devices can help people to manage their homes independently and improve their quality of life.

Medication Management Systems

Medication management devices help people to organise and take their medications as prescribed. These systems may include pill dispensers with alarms or reminders, electronic medication organizers, and smartphone apps that track medication schedules and dosage instructions.

Environmental Controls

Environmental control systems (ECS) enable individuals to control various aspects of their home environment, such as heating, cooling, lighting, and electronic devices, using adaptive switches, voice commands, or smartphone apps. ECS can enhance independence and accessibility for people with physical or cognitive impairments.

Telecare and Telehealth Solutions

Telecare and telehealth technologies enable remote monitoring of a person’s health and well-being, allowing support workers to respond quickly to any changes or emergencies. These solutions may include wearable health monitoring devices, remote vital signs monitoring systems, and video conferencing platforms for virtual consultations with healthcare professionals.

Communication Aids

Communication aids, such as speech-generating devices, communication boards, and text-to-speech apps, help people with communication difficulties to express themselves and interact with others more effectively. These aids can facilitate social connections and participation in daily activities.

Affinity Trust recognises the importance of assistive technology in supporting individuals to live independently and achieve their goals. We work closely with individuals, their families, and support teams to identify and implement the most suitable assistive technology solutions based on their needs and preferences.