What is Independent Living

Independent Living is the right of all persons regardless of age, type or extent of disability to live in the community; to have the same range or choices as everybody else in housing, transportation, education and employment; to participate in the social, economic and political life of their own communities; to have a family; to live as responsible respected members of their communities with all the duties and privileges that this entails, and to unfold their potential. (Adolf Ratzka) The above for many people with significant disabilities can best be achieved by the employment of Personal Assistants.

IL Briefing Paper

What is a Leader?

Leader is a person with a disability who employs directly or indirectly (through a service provider) Personal Assistants. A Leader takes full responsibility for the instructions given to the Personal Assistant, for the actions and consequences that follow from these, for training and day-to-day management of the service. The Leader is in charge.

What is a Personal Assistant?

A Personal Assistant, when on duty, only takes instructions from the Leader. A Personal Assistant does not report on Leader’s activities to service provider, nor does a Personal Assistant write in any ledger or notebook information about the Leader to be viewed by others, unless instructed by the Leader to do so.

Personal Assistants do not work in day centres or nursing homes or in any similar establishment where they are responsible only to management of the said establishment. Personal Assistant’s tasks are customized to the individual needs of the Leader and may include personal care, household help, assistance in the college or at the workplace, driving, interpretation etc. The major difference between a Personal Assistant and a carer is that in case of Personal Assistance the service is designed and managed by the service user directly.

What is a Direct Payment?

Direct Payment is cash paid to individuals to enable them to employ, either directly or indirectly, individuals to assist them with their everyday tasks. This system of direct service provision operates in a number of European countries including UK, Sweden, Austria, Finland, Holland and Germany. More information on Direct Payments.