The 5 Rs of Independent Living

Rate it! provide product reviews by and for disabled people and offer disabled people a space to share their views and reviews of products that can help increase independence and make life a little bit easier. Laura Horton, a Rate it! partner recently outlined the 5 Rs to help you live more independently.


  1. Representation of disabled people


This is the fundamental idea that we represent ourselves. However, we have to continue to convince others about this. We have to argue from the viewpoint of the social model of disability. This attests that people with impairments are ‘disabled’ by the barriers in society that exclude and discriminate against us.

But we still need to repeat that it is structural barriers, such as a lack of wheelchair ramps or a failure to provide sign language interpreters, that impedes disabled people, rather than our impairments. An ableist society is what disables disabled people. To win full access and inclusion in society we need to continually use this idea in all our arguments.


  1. Rip-off world of specialist disability products


Disabled people pay too much money for products. On average, disabled people spend £583 per month on the extra costs of day-to-day living, according to the Extra Costs Commission report.

We may need to buy equipment, such as wheelchairs or mobility scooters, screen readers, stair lifts, a hoist for our car or a wheelchair-accessible vehicle. Or we might need adaptations to our homes to make them accessible, specialist hearing aids or adaptations for communication. We also spend more on non-specialist goods and services. A third of disabled people in the UK spend significantly more on their energy bills and use taxis more often than non-disabled people.


  1. Research


We all have to do research to find products and services to make independent living easier, but we can help each other to choose products which can best fit our needs and our budgets. Some useful independent websites that provide high-quality information and help include:


The Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RiDC) – a charity that’s a leading expert in user-centred research involving disabled and older consumers in the UK. It also has an active consumer research panel.

Living Made Easy – a trusted website designed and run by the Disabled Living Foundation (DLF). It provides advice for disabled adults and children, older people, and their families and carers, about equipment to make everyday tasks easier.

com – an online community of and for disabled people (also run by DLF) with specialist forums on benefits, motoring, health, travel, work, parenting and gardening, as well as surveys, research requests and TV programmes.


  1. Review disability aids


The main way people do research is by reading reviews, but unless someone writes those reviews, there will not be any. This is where you can really help other disabled people. Share your knowledge and experience of products you have used at Rate it! – product reviews by and for disabled people!


  1. Remember your disability rights


We all need to check and know our rights, and protect ourselves from disability related hate crimes. Equally, we need to know our consumer rights especially when buying expensive equipment so that you are not ripped off with a product that doesn’t do what it is advertised as doing or breaks easily.


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