There are numerous care options available for adult with special needs. The options available range for those with special needs who are able to be more independent to those who need advanced medical care. It is important to match the person’s needs and desires with the best possible living option or combination of options.
Family is the first care option that most people consider. For some adults with special needs, family is a great option. Parents often care for their special needs child until they are no longer able to and then other family members, such as adult siblings, take over the care of the special needs adults. Caring for a special needs family member can be very rewarding, but can also add a lot of stress for family members. If family members choose to care for their special needs loved one, they may want to do so in combination with respite care or day program options. However, family may not always be the best option or may not be an option at all. Some special needs adults are able to be more independent and may wish to have living arrangements that allow for more independence.
Independent living is for those special needs adults who are able to complete many tasks on their own with only minimal help. Personal care professionals can come into the home and provide the assistance that may be needed. A special needs adult may have a personal care professional come in and assist for a few hours a day or more. This helps the special needs adult to be able to live on their own. There is also assistive technology available that help people with disabilities to maintain their independence. Transportation can be a limitation for those with special needs living independently. Many organizations provide for transportation to appointments and jobs to help the special needs adult maintain their ability to live independently.
Group homes can be an excellent option for special needs adults who do not wish to live with family, but are unable to live independently. Usually those living in group homes do not need advanced medical care. A group home is staffed with professionals who manage the home and provide assistance for the special needs of the adults living there. A group home usually consists of four to six special needs adults living together. The benefits of a group home are socialization for the special needs adults and learning to work together with others. It also allows them to still maintain some independence.
Day programs provide options for families who want to keep their loved one living with them, but need care during the day while working or who need respite care. Day programs are offered through independent agencies and also through some long-term facilities. Day programs are a great option for working caregivers, while also providing socialization and activity for the special needs adult. Special needs children can continue to go to public school until they are 21, but after finishing school a day program can help to continue routine and structure in the life of a special needs adult.
Long-term Care Facilities
In some cases, the special needs adults do not have family members who are able to care for them or the person may not have the means to pay for other care options. Living in a long-term care facility may be a good option for those with advanced medical care needs. These facilities are able to provide care for more extensive needs. Some higher functioning adults with special needs may also live in long-term care facilities, but there are generally other options that allow for those who are able to live more independently.
It is important to plan for the care of adult children with disabilities. Planning should include the needs of the special needs adult, the resources available, and the best options to meet those needs. Getting input from the special needs adult can make transitions to new living situations go more smoothly for everyone involved.
Milestones Organization has a helpful resource page (http://milestones.org/online-resources/resource-center/) that includes resources for families exploring residential options in Northeast Ohio. http://milestones.org/resource-cat/residential/
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