Skip to content

Charting the LifeCourse for families topics:

Life domains

Life is a journey. Each stage of life impacts the other, while different life experiences bring us closer to our vision of a good life — or move us further away. Charting the LifeCourse frames life in six life stages that intersect with six life domains. Here, understand the life domains.

Life domains
Life domains are the different aspects and experiences of life that we consider as we age and grow. We lead whole lives made up of specific, connected and integrated life domains that are important to a good quality of life. The life domains help us think about the current realities in our lives as well as the life experiences we'd like to have, which together lead us to the good life that we want.

The six Charting the LifeCourse life domains are:

  • Daily life and employment. What a person does as part of everyday life — school, employment, volunteering, communication, routines, life skills.
  • Community living. Where and how someone lives — housing and living options, community access, transportation, home adaptations and modifications.
  • Healthy living. Managing and accessing health care and staying well — medical health, mental health, behavioral health, developmental stages, wellness, nutrition.
  • Safety and security. Staying safe and secure — emergencies, well-being, guardianship options, legal rights and issues.
  • Social and spirituality. Building friendships and relationships, leisure activities, personal networks, faith community.
  • Advocacy and engagement. Building valued roles, making choices, setting goals, assuming responsibility, driving how one's own life is lived.

Learn more about life domains from Charting the LifeCourse.


Exploring life possibilities
Exploring life possibilities is a developmental disability-specific tool to help people and families look at various life options in each of the life domains. Some options are traditional or historic and no longer preferred, while some are known and tried but not necessarily the norm. Others are new or unfamiliar.

Life domain kits

  • Employment. Employment is part of the daily life domain, often providing the means to other things that help us have a good life. The focus on employment kit encourages thinking about possible jobs, career choices, volunteering, and education or training.
  • Respite. The respite kit helps caregivers explore and plan for taking small breaks (or respite) from caregiving. Personalized and purposely planned respite benefits not only caregivers but all family members, including siblings, spouses and partners.
  • Supported decision making. Supported decision making is about helping people, regardless of age or ability, make their own decisions. The supported decision making kit is designed to help a person, family or professional explore areas where someone might need support making decisions — including planning for what it looks like and how it can happen.
« Previous: Foundational tools | Next: Life stages »