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Tips and Tricks for Independent Living as a Disabled Person

Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Posts: 3,857Administrator Scope community team
edited September 11 in Guest blogs

Living independently can be a real challenge for disabled people. Whether you are moving away from home or going off to university, looking after yourself can bring about a whole host of hurdles that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to predict.

My name is Ruby, I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and I am a student at Exeter University. I run a blog where I share my experiences of chronic illness and a project called Chronically Cute Cards where I send out free, handmade, personalised cards to chronically ill people.

I’ve been living with students for the last few years but have recently just moved into a house with my sister. This has meant I have been spending a lot more time by myself and have had to adapt. I wanted to share a few little tips and tricks that I have found to make life slightly easier when living independently as a disabled person.

The perks of a bum bag

Purchasing a bum bag to carry all the things I may need throughout the day has meant less trips up and down stairs and ensures I never get caught without the essentials if I get stuck on the sofa! Having your medication, phone, glasses and phone charger on hand can also be really helpful in case of a fall or emergency.

Kitchen gadgets

The kitchen can be one of the toughest rooms when it comes to independence as a disabled person due to the countless hazards. Kitchen aids can be a great way to ease your concerns. Choppers, Nutri Bullets, kettle tippers and cutlery grips make cooking safer and easier especially if you have dexterity issues or painful hands.

Smart technology

One thing that I have found incredibly useful, but can occasionally be a bit pricey, is the Phillips Hue lightbulbs or smart lights. Being able to control the lights in your home via your phone saves you having to get up and down to turn lights off and on. You can also control the brightness which helps if you suffer from migraines as you can dim the lights. 

Snuggles with a dog!

A huge bonus for moving in with my sister is her dog Murphy! Having a pet is obviously not an option for everyone, but it really helps with my anxiety when I am home alone, and he keeps me company on the days where I am stuck in bed.

Food straight to the door

One tip that I cannot stress enough is online food shopping. Food shopping is an exhausting activity, doing it online saves so much energy and the people that deliver your order are usually super helpful and will often help you unpack if you ask.

My version of independence

Finally, I think the most important tip for me has been to create my own definition of independence. When I first started thinking about becoming more independent, I was terrified that this meant I would no longer be able to have help with anything. Now I have realised that there are certain things I can do that serve my independence all whilst still asking and accepting help in other aspects of living. Define your own independence, it looks different for everyone!

These are a few of the things that have helped me to feel confident being independent in my home and I really hope that you can draw some inspiration from these ideas and that they will help you.

What do you find helps you around the house? Are there any little hacks that make living independently easier? I would love for you to share your tips and tricks!

Online Community Officer


  • zakbloodzakblood Posts: 317Member Pioneering
    good luck with the University, hope all goes well and thanks for sharing and welcome to the forum
  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 1,619Member Disability Gamechanger
    I keep a list of phone numbers on my phone. I love me time especially in the shower or at work. I recently hired a cleaner to come work for me.
    She is the same person who worked for my mother for a decade. I delegate tasks. Ironing I do myself. 
  • AndMacAndMac Posts: 20Member Courageous
    edited September 3
    Some fantastic tips there. I have a net bag fitted to my zimmer frame, that has replaced my bum bag, which I now take instead of a handbag on shopping trips. My handbag is relegated to nights out.

    I hooked up with Age UK's shopping club, and use my trike (adult's tricycle) to shop locally. The shopping club gives me a chance to meet up with friends once a fortnight too. It's both a practical and social activity.

     I get small local shops to deliver, and support my local community by doing this., rather than boosting shareholder's profits by buying at overpriced supermarkets, but to each their own.
    I get all my fruit and veg delivered weekly, and have meat delivered once a month, that I freeze.

    I batch cook and freeze, a lot. I have a multicooker that is safer than large heavy pans on stovetops. I also cook pasta and rice in the microwave, it's safer and a bit quicker than the stovetop.

    Milk and orange juice is delivered by my milkman - yes, they do still exist! I pay them online too.
    I do everything online if I possibly can, including birthday cards, and buying gifts.

    I have a cleaner, and her husband does gardening jobs for me. I also employ a gardener periodically.
    I looked for a window cleaner that would agree to clean the frames, sills and doors too. The one I found I can pay by direct debit - another job I don't need cash for. Result!
  • AilsAils Posts: 567Community champion Pioneering
    Welcome to the Community, Ruby.  A great guest blog with really good tips for independent living.  Your blog looks great too and I love your Chronically Cute Cards, a marvellous idea!  Thanks for sharing all of this with us.  I don't have much to add to the tips already given here, but one thing I couldn't live without when I am home alone is my grabber if I drop anything; which I do a lot!  Also on days of bad pain and when stuck in bed I have found it helpful to fill a flask of tea/coffee and make myself a packed lunch to take to bed with me and tide me over until my husband comes in.   :)
  • newbornnewborn Posts: 289Member Pioneering
    They even have grabbers in poundland. Bit flimsy,  as to be expected though
  • paffuto10paffuto10 Posts: 83Member Pioneering
    We have stairs (hoping to move to a flat or bungalow). 

    Things that need to be taken upstairs we collect during the day, on a table at foot of stairs. At bedtime everything gets taken up together. And vice versa things needing to go down. 
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