A frustrating story from someone who just wants a social life
I had an email today from a man who’s been living in various care and supported living homes over the last 15 years.
His plea was quite simple. ‘Why can’t staff be paid to be around between certain hours in the evening and the morning? That way they’d be able to support late night events, and special nights like New Year.’
He said he finds it difficult to live anywhere where there isn’t someone present in his house but his support provider found it difficult to accommodate his needs around this.
He ended up coming up with his own solution, inviting a friend round to stay as he needed someone to accompany him when he came home late from town. This was an arrangement which he fought hard to set up.
However, when his friend wasn’t around he wasn’t able to go out at all as staff weren’t able to be flexible and support him as they rigidly observed their shift patterns. (Always in bed by 10pm).
Previously he’d been able to stay out late as his staff stayed up until midnight, and so was able to go out clubbing but sadly the home he was in closed down.
Unfortunately his relationship with his friend isn’t as good as it used to be and this is having a real impact on his ability to get out. Not only that but this is now having an impact on his ability to get in to another relationship.
So what’s the point of this story?
Well the original email was an awful lot longer than this post and I could just feel his frustration pouring out.
It just illustrates the everyday frustration that people with learning disabilities experience in trying to do those things in life that many of us take for granted, the right to go out, see your friends, and develop relationships. These aren’t just nice things, they’re basic human rights and something that we should all hold dear.
So what’s the answer? Well that’s what the Stay Up Late campaign is going to be all about – how can we change cultures in support settings so this kind of thing is challenged, and staff don’t think it’s acceptable to close the door and tuck themselves in to bed at 10pm when there’s a young man chomping at the bit to get out a live his life.