Gaining independence

    Fast facts

    1. 1
      Independence isn’t just about living independently
    2. 2
      Lots of things can affect people’s ability to be independent: their age, maturity, how their epilepsy affects them, other health conditions, ability to work and earn money
    3. 3
      People with well controlled epilepsy have different needs than those who have uncontrolled seizures. Recognising how your epilepsy affects your daily life will influence decisions about independence
    4. 4
      Many young adults with epilepsy still live with their parents. And so do many young people without epilepsy
    5. 5
      Managing your epilepsy as best you can will increase your ability to be as independent as you want to be

    Tips that may help you be as independent as possible


    Safety equipment

    Some people don’t like using safety equipment or aids because it makes them feel different. Other people find that using safety aids increases their independence and reduces their reliance on others.

    There’s information about different safety aids and equipment on the safety page, including medical ID, alarms and monitors, trackers and apps.

    “My mum used to phone me 10 times a day! Now I have a watch alarm she texts me about once a day.”

    Getting around

    Some people with epilepsy aren’t able to hold a driving licence. To find out if you are able to hold a licence look at the page about driving. If you can’t drive, there’s information about travel and public transport including tips for getting around without driving.

    Woman waiting for a tube train

    Feelings about independence

    The people who love you want the best for you and to keep you safe. At times this might feel like they’re making choices for you, which can be frustrating. If it feels like this, remember they are only doing it because they care about you. Talk to them about how it feels and see if you can reach a compromise.

    Can you find solutions that make you feel like you’re making your own choices and addressing their concerns at the same time?

    Having epilepsy can affect people’s confidence and self-esteem. This can affect how people feel about becoming independent. Some people worry that they won’t be able to cope or that something may go wrong. We all learn from mistakes. It’s an important part of growing up. If your friends are more independent than you, don’t feel pressured that you have to be the same as them. Independence is different for everybody.

    If your confidence is affecting your independence have a look at pages on The Epilepsy Space about confidence and self-esteem. 

    Stories by you

    Read what Ally has learned on her journey to gaining independence.

    Not everyone will go on to live independently. Here are some tips for gaining some independence if you don’t live independently.


    If you live with family

    Man with his mum

    If you live in a care setting or supported living

    Young man with his carer

    If you live independently or would like to, there’s a page with more info on living independently.

    Supported housing

    If you can’t live independently due to your epilepsy, could supported housing be an option for you? Supported living or supported housing is where support is provided alongside accommodation. The accommodation could be a shared house or your own flat. There are housing associations and charities that provide supported housing for different types of support needs.

    Contact the housing service at your local council to find out what’s available in your area and if you would qualify.

    Find your local council

    Local council finder

    Do something

    Think of something you want to do to be more independent. Break it down into small steps. Make an action plan of how you’re going to achieve each step.

    For example:

    “I want to have more choice about the food we eat at home and cook more.”

    More info

    Safety info on The Epilepsy Space

    Safety info

    Living independently info on The Epilepsy Space

    Living independently

    Travel and public transport info on The Epilepsy Space

    Travel and public transport

    Driving info on The Epilepsy Space

    Driving info

    Money and benefits info on The Epilepsy Space

    Money and benefits
    Updated 12 May 2020
    Review 12 May 2023
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