Living with a disability

As you get older, you may need to plan for frailty or disability and how this will change your lifestyle. This difficult transition can be made easier with the right support and knowledge. While disability is not always a part of ageing, changes to your body and your abilities may mean you need extra support and adaptations to make it easier for you to continue living independently.

Accessibility and mobility

If your disability affects you in a physical way, you may need to make some modifications to your home to make it easier for you to continue living independently. This may include installing a stairlift, building a ramp to your front door, removing tripping hazards, installing bathroom equipment such as a grab rail, and buying easy to use kitchen appliances. Making these adjustments as you need them may allow you to continue living independently.

If you have issues with mobility, there are several mobility aids that could be useful for you. Check the mobility section for more information and discuss your concerns with your doctor or physiotherapist.

If you want to travel, it is important to plan your trip before you go to ensure it will be accessible and meet your needs. There are several resources online for planning accessible trips in New Zealand, including Freedom Mobility and Ability Adventures.

Getting assistance

Having a disability may mean needing extra support to do tasks at home to maintain your independence. Depending on your disability, this may be funded or privately arranged. If you want more support at home to continue living independently, you can find various types of home help at Mycare. For information, support, and other resources, visit FirstPort, Enable, or contact your local Age Concern.

New Zealand Disability Strategy

The Office for Disability Issues formed the New Zealand Disability Strategy, which will be reviewed in 2026, to identify the trajectory of progress in New Zealand that is needed to make our country a non-disabling society. This strategy defines a person with a disability as someone who has long-term impairments that affect them physically, mentally, intellectually, or sensorially. Regarding perspective on disability, they describe disability as “something that happens when people with impairments face barriers in society; it is society that disable us, not our impairments”. The aim of the strategy is to promote education, employment, health, rights, control, and accessibility for the disabled community.

Websites of interest