- It’s okay to identify as disabled: Zoe
- Basketball, photography and more: How Charlie’s life ‘restarted’ through Mable
- Paralympics, arts and more: How Nick does what he loves with Mable
- Reviewing cafes for accessibility: How Ashlee is pursuing her passion
- Guitar, martial arts, yoga: Skills Nissa is learning with support through Mable
Sign up to have the latest news, articles and resources delivered to your inbox.
For 36-year-old Samantha Prior, moving into her own home in August 2022 marked a major personal milestone and the blossoming of rewarding new relationships with her team of support workers. Samantha shares her journey to independent living and the importance of support from Mable along the way.
Samantha’s path to independent living
Samantha is the Queensland Relationship Manager for Empowered Liveability – a Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) provider and one of the first companies in Australia to provide complete disability housing solutions compliant with current NDIS regulations. Planning her move to independent living had been on Samantha’s radar for some time.
“I was very adamant about wanting to live on my own, have my own space and not be pushed into living with someone simply because I have a disability,” Samantha recalls.
Once she knew she was ready to start her independent living journey, Samantha worked with her occupational therapist during her Functional Capacity Assessment to ensure her needs were clearly expressed and understood.
She also identified a number of mandatory considerations particularly important to her, including proximity to the hospital she visits during the week as well as access to public transport to travel there on her own.
“I am also an aunty to eight amazing nieces and nephews and I wanted to be able to have them come over to my house to hang out, so living independently was important to me,” Samantha says.
“[Then] in August I was fortunate enough to move into my very own, fully-accessible SDA property in Nundah. I love my new place, it’s big enough for me and my faithful feline Enzo. I have a cute little courtyard to do my art activities or sit in the sun while I work, and a great kitchen to cook up a storm in – which I love to do.”
How Samantha built her support team on Mable
Research played a big part in Samantha successfully building her support team, as well as the sound advice of a close friend.
“[Due] to the staggered roll-out of the NDIS where I lived…I had a lot of time to research how I wanted to find supports and chatting with a friend, who was working in the support work industry, he recommended looking at Mable,” Samantha says.
Once she discovered Mable, it was somewhat of a case of love at first sight for Samantha. “I jumped on the website and really loved what I saw. Participants like me create profiles and support workers do the same. You read through the profiles after you put in some filtered criteria, find the people you have most compatibility with and set up a meet and greet.
“It was super simple and took so much of the anxiety out of the whole process because straight up, I was able to deliver my personality [and] my sense of humour in my profile. And I could see how that was received when I was getting reach-out from support workers,” Samantha says.
Support Samantha gets from her team
From everyday chores to special events, Samantha’s flexible team is not only a reliable, proactive and fun source of support, but one she’s also looking to grow.
“My support team is fantastic – we do everything from meal preparation and laundry together, to going on shopping trips or to art classes, museum shows or the movies. They’ve even supported me when I needed to travel up and down the coast for work by making sure I wasn’t overdoing things, and supporting me in places that aren’t always accessible,” Samantha says.
“On top of that, they help me to get to my doctors’ appointments and do my groceries with me, and they helped me to pack and then organise my house when I moved. I’m really fortunate to have such a great support team onboard and we always manage to have a laugh even if we’re doing those boring jobs like folding the laundry.
“Right now, I have two people on my team, but I am going to add in a couple of extras [in 2023] because it’s always good to have a backup roster,” Samantha adds.
How to find support workers on Mable: Samantha’s advice
“If you like to have a laugh, don’t forget to write that down. Finding supports who you get along with can make everything run so much better. Be detailed about what you need and be detailed about the things that are non-negotiable. It’s so important to just say what you need and what won’t work for you upfront. Don’t be afraid of the process of looking for someone. I firmly believe there is someone for everyone out there in the support/participant world.”
Samantha has also found that breaking her support team into two distinct working groups is the best way to manage her busy life and time.
“The way I built my support team was very deliberate in the beginning,” Samantha continues.
“I chose two people who I really wanted specific tasks achieved with – one for the social, community-access things that I love to do, and one for the therapy and more everyday tasks I needed help with. I went in with the idea that I wanted to be able to compartmentalise all the boring things I had to do into one or two days, and then the fun stuff for the other days.
“Since then, I’ve had a few changes with my supports and now I’m lucky to have two support workers. I’m able to space my tasks out more, which allows me more time to do more community-access activities, and work as well.”Like many others, following her passions with support from Mable continues to be a wonderful and empowering journey for Samantha.