Choosing where, how and with who you live is a basic right that is often hard won by people with a learning disability in Scotland. In the run up to Scottish Housing Day on Wednesday 18th September 2019, SCLD is publishing a series of blogs to raise awareness of the challenges people with learning disabilities face when it comes to housing, as well as the benefits of getting the right accommodation to meet people’s needs.
We are starting with a piece from Marie*, who writes about how her life has changed for the better since getting the right house for her.
My life has changed for the better now. I get to do my own house work.
I do things for myself.
I get out more, I had a good day today.
I can’t believe how much my life has changed for the better.
I get out and about and go to shows, one-to-one in my flat – I never got that before. It was terrible, shocking.
I like one-to-one. I can tell the staff how I feel and what is the matter. I don’t ‘kick off’ as much now. I get talk time to discuss my feelings.
When I got ‘high’ before they restrained me. They would lie on top of my legs and body, it was sore and it didn’t help me calm down, it made me higher. I use to break things. I don’t do that anymore. They made me madder when I kicked off. They were hurting me more and more.
I always had to try and hook my bra myself. I had to go round like that all day with only one hook as I couldn’t do it… I had lots of staff and they couldn’t help, they were always busy with other people.
I’m closer to my family now that’s good. They could only visit sometimes, as it was far to travel.
My social worker said he would get me out of there. I was so happy when he said he got me somewhere. I asked him could I kiss him, and he said “shake my hand”. I went up stairs and started crying because I was so happy, I was so happy. I just wanted to get out of there. I thought I was going to die in there. It was like a care home, horrible. I don’t think I was treated well in there – I felt like a nobody.
I have my own place now and I got a job, my life got better – I don’t get locked in here, I like that. I got locked in up there.
I can wash my own clothes, I could never do that before. I can do that now. I tidy the house and do my own shopping and go to the bank to lift my money.
“I just wanted to get out of there. I thought I was going to die in there. It was like a care home, horrible. I don’t think I was treated well in there – I felt like a nobody.”
There was 12 of us up there to 4 staff. I never got one to one, I had to go out in groups and it wasn’t always the activity I wanted to do.
I never want to go back to a place like that.
My life has changed a hundred, thousand times better since moving here.
I go on holiday myself now with staff – before I had to go with everyone and it wasn’t a place I chose, we went were we were told to go… If I didn’t like it I didn’t go.
I have a beautiful flat I love it, I only had a room at the end of corridor, sometimes my door got locked. I didn’t like this. I had to go to bed after my tablets and I couldn’t sit up late and watch TV. I can do that now.
I had a nice wee bedroom it was very lonely for me up there. The residents attacked me up there, it was terrible. I had a key to my room as I had to lock the door. Once I was getting changed and staff walked in, a resident walked in too, I didn’t like that as I was getting changed.
When I’m here and I get ‘high’ the staff leave and stay in their office – I stay in my flat and they don’t attack, I mean restrain. I have learnt to come to my house and sit sometimes until I am calm. I still go out and shout – I do this when I’m high. I like it here.
Staff are so good here, this is more helpful for me.
I can visit my family – I couldn’t do that before, or it was once in a blue moon. I couldn’t visit for 2 or 3 years. I hardly seen my mum, but when I come down here I saw her loads – she got car sickness and couldn’t travel to see me.
I’m not joking – my life has changed for the better! I do a job outside – when I lived there my job was in the dining room.
*Marie’s real name has been changed to protect her privacy.