case study of this situation.My friend I shall call J. I’ve met her on holiday, then we’ve arranged
to go on holiday at the same time and the same place (respite
adventure centre) for several years, as we’ve got on well and have a
similar mindset.She’s a wheelchair user with communication difficulties (uses a
talker, slowly), needs assistance with various tasks. She’s highly
intelligent and very knowledgable / astute.
Having been abandoned by her family (to cut a long story short) she
ended up in residential care; first a residential school then a
nursing home. She experienced all the frustrations common to such
environments, which I know so well.
As such I found her more than somewhat a kindred spirit when I
expressed frustration and disbelief at some of the things to which I
was being subjected in the care home. She knew better than anybody
else what it’s like to be a rights-thinker in residential care, so to
She got out of res care. Bucking the trend, she did so whilst she was
still alive – as we know, most people only “escape” res care feet
foremost! With the substantial assistance of one of the workers, who
she took with her and who by her account is a rather marvelous and
unusual person, she moved into her own bungalow, arranged direct
payments and now lives independently. An amazing achievement given the
institutional barriers on top of the other barriers she experiences as
a disabled person.
She’s been living in her own bungalow now for I think over 15 years.
She would not have been able to achieve that without ILF. ILF has now
been shut to new applicants for a couple of years. So the sad thing
is, other people won’t be able to follow in her footsteps; even if
they overcome all the other barriers to getting out of res care, ILF
is no longer around.
What is even sadder is that J now faces the possibility (I would say
probability) of being forced to move back into residential care. There
is to be a decision on what happens with regard to existing ILF claims
after the next couple of years. We don’t know what’s going to happen
with that, which leaves J in an incredible situation of uncertainty
about her future life. I also strongly suspect that the decision will
be that ILF will be withdrawn.
This, together with the cutting of council social services that we are
all know about (a la Southampton), leads to potentially disastrous
consequences for J. In a sobering moment, J told me that she hopes she
dies before she has to go back into residential care.