Supported living in Northern Ireland


I feel that I am between a rock and a hard place. I have a 45 year old brother with special needs and my Mum will be 80 next month. She has a weak heart and is becoming quite frail. I worry all the time about what will happen my brother when my Mum passes away. I love my brother very much and we are very close but I know that I couldn’t look after him on my own, as I have mental health problems, take medication for high blood pressure and have a brain condition. I don’t have any brothers or sisters or any other close relatives living in Northern Ireland. I feel that the solution would be supported living, although it breaks my heart to even think about that. Are there any really good supported living schemes in Northern Ireland that anyone might recommend?

I don’t know about your area but Mencap is a good place to start. You would be surprised the amount of times I heard you worries and in the end once the person is place. They soon settle down and have access to a care team and have a care plan. Don’t over worry I have placed many adults with learning disabilities. In such accommodation and on the whole it’s been a positive move for all concerned. It would be best to try now if social services are not involve to be involved. Work towards a supported placement can be written into a care plan implemented when necessary. People who have profound difficulties live in these types of accommodation and have very good outcomes.

Hi Eibhlinn,

A friend of ours used to volunteer with L’Arche in one of their shared living communities. She felt it was very positive for both the people with learning disabilities and those who worked and volunteered with the organisation. I can not of course say if it would suit your brother, but it’s worth looking at even if only to see what is available


Thank you both for your replies to my post. Both your posts have helped me to feel a bit more positive about the situation. It’s really good to hear that supported living has good outcomes for people with a learning disability. I think that my brother fears being ‘put in somewhere’ and forgotten about. I think that a lot of this negativity comes from my Mum. I have assured my brother that he would still have his friends and be able to go out to work. I am going to contact both Mencap and L’Arche, to see what opportunities my brother can access now.

When I’ve placed adults in supported accommodation it’s been a very well planned moved. You can organise several visit’s and your brother can even attend events. Mencap in particular can have mixed accommodation. My niece had a one bed maisonette which was part of a large manor house. Where other adults had either dependant on their needs and a single room or set of rooms. Across the road from the Manor house a large semi detached property had been purchased. And five other adults lived there with shared lounge and kitchen. Some attended work and some had organised daily social skills and activities.

Hi …… My Mum was from Northern Ireland and I have a lot of relatives who live in Down and Tyrone.

I know your brother doesn’t have dementia but I did read about the Dementia Friendly Barber called Lenny who works in Bangor and does a fabulous pop up shop in residential homes for gents with dementia. they get the full works, including head massage, hot towels, juke box music etc and thry have a real pamper session.

Back to your brother …. My friend has a son in his early 40s who lives in supported living in the same town as her and he loves it. he lives with a couple of other young men with LD and they have a support worker living there too.

I do understand your concern for your brother. Xx

Penny, Thank You for your reply, which I really appreciate. It’s very encouraging to hear about someone living in supported living and doing very well. I think that my brother would do well with the support of staff and from myself. I just know that I couldn’t manage on my own.

sunnydisposition, just want to Thank you for telling me about your niece and the supporting living arrangements where she lives. I am definitely going to contact Mencap, as they have been recommended by different people. I also understand the importance of the move into supported living being a well planned transition.

I am unsure if NI has the same system as here…but in England a social worker would do an assessment and place someone on a list for supported housing.