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Home Care Benefits for Special Needs Adults & Their Caregivers

blind woman with a dog

Home care services are not limited to seniors – individuals of any age who live with chronic care needs or disabilities can benefit as well! In addition to helping with typical activities of daily living, such as meal preparation, assistance with medication and transportation, caregivers can also provide warm social interaction, emotional support and peace of mind for the family.

Today it’s easier than ever for adults with special needs to live independently. Autistic people and those with Down’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and other intellectual and developmental disabilities live and work successfully in their communities every day. However, parents of special needs children often support them as adults as well.

There are many resources available to those caring for someone with special needs so be sure to look for whatever level of help you need. For one, including home care in your plan for care can be a huge benefit for you and your child as well.

Benefits of Home Care for Adults with Special Needs

  1. Community Integration

People with disabilities deserve to be included in their communities.

In the past, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities rarely lived in the community. They often lived in institutions, separate from the rest of society. Today this is no longer the norm. There are many home and community-based living options available, including:

  • Living independently (with or without supports)
  • Living in-home with family
  • Adult foster homes
  • Adult group homes

All of these options are alternatives to an institutional settings. There are options suitable for all special needs adults. Parents and loved ones can support special needs adults no matter which setting they live in. Community integration is something that disability rights advocates spent decades fighting for, and we’re lucky to live in a time where integration is the norm.

Many families find that home care helps them support their special needs loved ones. Sometimes home care is the support that allows someone to live independently in their community, or stay in their family home.

  1. Quality of Life

Home care ensures that special needs adults live rich and fulfilling lives.

People, regardless of disability, want to lead independent lives. Going to work, visiting friends, and going to the movies or to a restaurant with family are things you may take for granted. They’re some of the things that make life meaningful.

Special needs adults who live in the community can lead rich, fulfilling lives too. They can travel to work, often independently. They can maintain friendships and stay involved with their church communities. Professional caregivers can provide the extra support adults with disabilities may need to participate in them fully. Caregivers in this situation can offer help with meal preparation, transportation to and from errands, assistance with personal hygiene and other activities of daily living, including finding appropriate clothing for specific functions and events.

Whether supports are provided by family, friends, or home care professionals, special needs adults can enjoy all aspects of life.

  1. Peace of Mind

Home care provides families with peace of mind because they know their loved one has the support they need.

Parents of special needs adults want to know that their child is receiving the best possible supports. Often, this means living at home. It may also eventually involve a transition to a different type of living situation to encourage independence. Parents and other caregivers have peace of mind when they know that their loved one is at home or in the best possible setting.

Read: Day 1 With a New Caregiver in Your Home

Tips for Caring for an Adult with Special Needs

There are steps caregivers can take to make sure their loved one is successful.

  1. Find Supports

There are a variety of supports out there for special needs adults to live successfully.

Parents of special needs adults are used to doing it all. Special needs children require a lot of support from their parents. This includes managing medical conditions and working with case managers. There are some supports available, but the reality is that parents must do a lot.

When special needs kids become adults, there are more resources that families can access. These include:

  • Job coaching
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Day programs and community transition programs
  • Home care professional support

Supports and opportunities vary based on where you live. Think about the supports that would benefit the special needs adult you care for. Do they need help finding a job, and support while at work to ensure they’re successful? They may benefit from job coaching or vocational rehabilitation. Do they need assistance with daily tasks? Maybe attendant care would be helpful.

Professional caregivers can provide respite care to family caretakers and support to the entire family. Home care providers can help with simple and complex tasks, such as:

  • Meal preparation
  • Doing housework
  • Managing medications
  • Assistance with mobility and ambulation
  • Bathing and hygiene
  • Recreation and community activities

These supports will provide you as the caregiver with a much-needed break. The right supports will help you find a balance between providing care and promoting independence for your loved one. They are a stepping stone to independence for special needs adults.

Read: Home Care vs. Home Health Care & What Caregivers Do

  1. Celebrate Autonomy and Independence

Everyone wants to be independent and live life on their own terms.

Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities are still adults. This means they have the right to be in charge of their own lives. For parents with special needs kids, this transition can be a challenging one. Watching your kid grow up is hard for all parents. When your kid may never live fully independently, changing roles and relationships is difficult.

When special needs kids grow up, the best thing their parents can do is celebrate their autonomy and independence. Focus on your young adult’s strengths and skills. Work with them to figure out how you can support them to grow even more. Encourage your loved one to try a job coaching program. Support them as they learn how to cook, with your help or the help of a home care professional.

  1. Encourage Changing Roles

Special needs adults are not children, but it is possible to support them in new and meaningful ways.

Special needs adults should be as independent as possible. This means that if you’re a parent of a special needs adult, you will need to take a step back to allow your child to grow.

You might not be the person to help your loved one through their morning routine anymore. Maybe they can do that task independently now, or maybe they have a home care provider who supports them. Encourage changes like this.

There will always be opportunities for you to care for the special needs adult in your life. As a caregiver, you must adapt your role to allow them to grow and experience adulthood.

Read: Giving Feedback to Your Caregiver for a Great Relationship

 

Resources
Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Disability and Health

 

About The Author

Ashley Krollenbrock has been a caregiver for her mom for 10 years. She has her Masters of Public Health and JD with a concentration in Health Policy & Law. Ashley has done legal work for two state protection and advocacy agencies for people with disabilities. She is passionate about disability justice, aging justice, health equity, and aging in place. Ashley blogs at themillennialmatriarch.com, and her goal is to empower families to keep their aging loved ones at home by sharing her story and practical knowledge. Ashley lives in Oregon with her wife and mom, and when she’s not writing or caregiving she loves to travel, garden, and hike with her dogs.