Living with Disabilities
In the previous chapter, one of the main difficulties that disabled people faced at all ages was how to maintain relationships with their families while also achieving a level of independence and autonomy within them. Leat (1988) suggests that the pressures of dependency within families is the most significant cause of disabled people having to enter residential care, though this analysis was part of the Wagner report into residential care which was concerned to promote its positive use but failed to consider the impact of poor community services on these relationships. This impact may also account for the fact that disabled adults are far more likely than non-disabled people to be living alone. In 1986, 30 per cent of disabled adults were living alone (Martin et al., 1989) which compares with just 11 per cent of the whole population at the time of the 1991 census. As would be expected, the proportion rises with age but even if only those under 65 years are considered, some 16 per cent of disabled adults are still living alone. This has significant implications for the provision of both housing and personal assistance which would enable these individuals to live independently, but also for the provision of support to those within families.
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