Exploring the ‘Good Life’

Our Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP) recently asked people with disability Yooralla supports what ‘A Good Life’ means to them.

Our Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP) recently asked people with disability Yooralla supports what ‘A Good Life’ means to them.

Feedback from a range of conversations and a survey was rich, as people touched on the things that mattered most to them, helped realise basic rights, and brought joy and meaning.

People spoke about:

1. Home and home life:

Opportunities to make everyday choices as well as opportunities for developing independence mattered, as did having choice about where someone lived, and creating a a real sense of home and great home life. From making my own cup of tea to choosing when you went to bed. One person spoke about how life-changing the opportunity to live in their own home was.

“Moving to my own place was a dream that I had since I was 16 years old. I never thought that it would come true because I was often told that I had accommodation in a group home and I should be happy about that. When the NDIS came in it meant that people had more choice. I learned from Jeanette [Yooralla Customer Rights and Empowerment Practitioner] that there were apartments going up in Ringwood, so I decided to apply. I didn't have much time to apply but Jeanette helped me with the application and got all the information together and we got it in just in time. A few weeks later I was surprised when I got a call, and they told me that I had been chosen for an SDA independent living apartment in Ringwood.

I love living by myself in the apartment now and it is the best thing I ever did. I have moved forward, not backwards and I decide what I do, what I eat, what time I get up and go to bed and all aspects of my life, and I have the support when I need it. I am meeting new people and I'm trying out new things. I wake up in the morning feeling happy.” – Lucy

2. Health and movement:

Supports such as physiotherapy, personal trainers and access to facilities such as local gyms were important foundations for people’s wellbeing. Being outdoors in nature was a source freedom, fitness and friendship

“Just over three years ago, I got my first recumbent trike. It was to be a life changer for me. Riding was the first time I had been able to do anything other than walking for over 25 years.

That first ride, just 2km, was exhilarating. On a bike trail, beautiful sunshine, feeling the wind whip through my hair, just wow. I am now an adaptive mountain bike rider (aMTB). I ride a trike that has a number of adaptions for my abilities.

On the weekend, I rode some new MTB trails. Learning how to ride berms, negotiate tree roots, squeeze between trees, navigate rock gardens, riding as fast as I could. The sense of freedom, of friendship, of feeling alive was pure joy.” - Matt

3. Family and friends:

Connections with family and friends mattered. Sometimes support was needed to maintain these connections and make them possible. A shared life, and one with laughter, was a richer one. People wanted to feel respected in the relationships they had.

4. Love and relationships:

People wanted to make more connections with more people. Including romantic relationships and intimate partnerships. Dating and access to social groups were some of the ideas people had as possible opportunities for meeting others and perhaps making a special connection.

5. Money and finances:

Knowing about money, financial literacy and control over people’s personal finances was empowering. Foundational supports such as with budgeting were building blocks for people’s financial stability. So was having a job.

6. Personal growth and development:

People wanted more autonomy in choosing support workers. And opportunities to pursue interests and opportunities that made sense to them, and to grow, learn and develop over their lives.

“A good life for me is a personal growth journey full of opportunities, challenges and fulfillment. Growing up from young with a physical disability was not easy but it gave me the opportunity for personal growth and fulfilment. I have achieved most of my life goals, eg. getting a university degree, working as a professional social worker, getting my own home and living independently, having a partner and doing overseas travel which I love. I needed to take some risks and put myself out of my comfort zone. It can be scary, but we learn about life and how to overcome barriers and we grow in confidence to take up new opportunities and live a good life of our choosing.” – Jeanette

7. Work life:

Opportunities for fairly paid, meaningful employment were important to people, as was having the chance to explore work options. Volunteer work was important too, it contributed to a sense of purpose and allowed people to give back to their communities.

“I have always been fortunate to do work that makes a difference in the lives of people, that matters so much to me I also need to pay my rent!” - Bec

These results will help us to further develop our Quality & Safeguards framework, to ensure our services support our clients to lead ‘A Good Life’.

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