Supported living isn’t all about ‘them’, it is about all of ‘us’

Working in Independent Living is many things. For me, the one thing it is not is altruistic. I love my job and the purpose it gives me. Being part of Independent Living means being a member of a community that supports each other; customer, staff or anyone accessing our services and facilities. Simply put, we provide an enhanced housing management service and offer a housing support service to promote independence and flexibly, based on the individual. But it is so much more to those who work, volunteer and live in Independent Living.

Humans are born wired for connection – it’s in our DNA, as strong a need as food, water and warmth. We all have our own talents, strengths and weakness. It’s what makes us individuals. Older people are an incredibly diverse population. Their life experiences and personal history influence them as they grow older. Some people are more fortunate than others or are blessed with good health. But regardless of circumstance, their characteristics and experiences build resilience to help deal with adversity.

However, we are not designed to do everything ourselves. We all need support; sometimes lots, and sometimes we are the ones giving the support. There are times when we are especially vulnerable; for example, in illness or bereavement. In Independent Living the community are resilient enough to know when we need help and brave enough to ask for it.

Being a member of this community, I can share my strengths with others. I am surrounded by talented, caring and knowledgeable people, who are willing to share their strengths to support me. Hearing people’s life stories and anecdotes expands my knowledge and understanding.

This truly is a hugely fulfilling and rewarding job that gives me the opportunity to learn from remarkable people and support older people to live independently. Given that we all need support at times, to be connected, share our strengths and improve our weaknesses – I’m thinking this isn’t all about ‘them’, it is about all of ‘us’. For me, it’s not altruistic.”

– Katherine Dugdale, Independent Living Manager