Lots of Disabled people are treated badly in institutional homes and even in supported living settings. They don’t get to enjoy the same lifestyles as mainstream people. If you are in a relationship with a Disabled person you can’t stay over with them if they live in a supported living house.
One solution, I believe, is to give them the same rights as mainstream people to make their own decisions about their home lives, including who can stay with them. We would have to balance this with people’s safety as well so perhaps staff could assess the risks in cases where people don’t have the mental capacity to make their own decision about it.
Vetting staff well and providing them with higher quality training and a career path would also lead to Disabled residents of institutional homes being better treated and having happier lives. At the moment, staff are just ticking boxes rather than treating people as human beings.
Also, it might help if the homes had written profiles that explained their residents’ backgrounds, likes and preferences and needs so that staff can understand them and offer them tailored support. Wherever possible, Disabled residents should be asked if they consent to having profiles written about them and they should be involved in writing them. I heard about these from Rachael Bond’s autism research group.
I think it could also be a good idea to have non-Disabled people, like students, living together with Disabled people. That could make the Disabled people’s lives more fulfilling. If you watch Channel 4’s Lodgers For Codgers if will give you the gist of this concept.
Another idea is to invite nursery school kids to join in activities with Disabled people in their homes. I got this idea when I was watching Old People’s Home For 4 Year Olds. My favourite moment in the programme was when an elderly person got invited to a child’s birthday.
Disabled people should have the same quality of life as other people both inside and outside their homes. For this to happen, we need to live in homes not hospitals, or other types of institutions, and we need to have our independence respected.