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New Year, More Decisions

A brand new year. It’s that time of year when the holiday season is over and there’s white space in our calendars to work on new goals. Honestly, for me, it’s a fresh start filled with hope that I will get things done this year…without procrastinating! Sometimes, it’s the getting started part that seems overwhelming for me; after that, I can get in a groove and knock out tasks.

With that thought in mind, I want to help those of you who are looking for group homes for adults with intellectual disabilities but need a jumpstart. I’ve made a list of some questions (in no particular order) to consider along your journey to find the best place for your loved one.

  • What are our family’s core values? Does the organization I’m considering to care for my loved one match those values?
  • What type of living are we looking for: ranch, live/work/play, urban, etc.?
  • What is our family’s preference regarding the home’s proximity to our current home/family? In other words, are we searching for a group home locally, regionally, or nationally?
  • Do I plan for this to be a stepping stone along our journey to a higher level of independent living or will my loved one age in place? If the latter, does the organization offer aging services for individuals with intellectual disabilities?
  • How is the organization funded? Private, Medicaid, sliding scale based on income, etc.
  • How long has the organization been in business? Do they have a good reputation among the greater ID/DD community?
  • Will person-centered goals be set for my loved to accomplish? Will I be involved in helping to set these, especially if my loved one has verbal or expressive limitations?
  • Is there a policy for taking my loved one home with me for a weekend, a vacation, or a holiday?
  • Will my loved one have his/her own room and bathroom, or will he/she share these spaces?
  • If the organization has more than one group home, how is the person matched to the home? Skill level, interests, age, bed availability, diagnosis, etc.
  • Who is responsible for meal planning, shopping, and cooking? If my loved one has a special dietary restriction, can the organization meet that need?
  • Does the organization offer activities beyond supervised or independent living, such as recreation? If so, will my loved one be empowered to choose preferred activities?
  • Will my loved one be offered job opportunities? If so, is it sheltered or community employment? How is my loved one’s earnings monitored?
  • Are there medical facilities (dentist, doctors, specialists, hospitals, etc.) nearby to suit my loved one’s specific needs?
  • What is our family’s comfort level regarding independence? For instance, are you comfortable with your loved one staying in his/her house with housemates overnight or navigating a public transportation system without staff supervision?
  • Does the organization have a waiting list? How quickly does my family plan to act once we find the right organization?
  • Does my loved one meet the eligibility and/or criteria for admission? Mobility, assisted daily living skills, IQ level, behavior, etc.

Of course, this list is not all inclusive, but hopefully, it will be food for thought. Best of luck to you as you advocate for your loved one so that he or she can thrive – not just live – at the appropriate level of independence!

Posted by Cassie Smith at 11:57 AM

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