There comes a time in every senior’s life when they may not be capable of caring for themselves the way they once could. If dealing with disability or disease, a senior needs special care from someone who is patient and able to assist them with their needs. For some seniors not being able to use the restroom or bathe on their own can be frustrating. It can be equally difficult on the senior’s family. You want to take care of your parent, but have other responsibilities like work and children. If your parent is in need of special care, reach out for assistance.

Doing the research to find a person who will be patient and sensitive to the senior’s needs is of the utmost importance. Luckily, some insurances cover senior care and offer great plans. In some cases you may not have an insurance that covers senior assisted living. It may be a good idea to search for a caregiver on a reputable website that offers multiple options that fit your senior’s specific needs.

The following are some good resources to look into:

Care.com This site offers a number of resources, including childcare, housekeeping, and even dog sitting. The site allows you to create a membership profile to search for the right caregiver that will fit your specific needs. You can run a background check on possible caregivers and ask for their references. The site also offers practical advice and resources to help you find the perfect caregiver for the senior in your life.

Caregivers.com You can find a caregiver and pay easily and conveniently. The application process is thorough, but offers the best service to find the most appropriate helper for your senior. The caregiver goes through a screening process that includes state nurse’s aide registry and driving history check.

Agingparentsandeldercare.com This site not only offers resources for finding the best caregiver for seniors, but it also offers insurance advice, practical daily living solutions, and support groups for caregivers and families.

Determine the senior’s specific needs

Research is the first step. The second step is to determine what your specific needs are. How many days a week will you need a caregiver? What specific needs does the senior have that might require special help? Does the senior have a medical or special needs? You want to find someone who is certified and trained to handle the senior’s needs. Professionalism is the number one thing to look for. You want a caregiver who will be present and patient. You want to avoid drama.

Once you find the right caregiver, you can plan a good schedule that will make life easier for the senior in your life. Sit down with the caregiver and let them know your expectations. Create a clear schedule that will inform the caregiver what his or her duties are. Elderly life should be a peaceful and restful time. As a daughter or son, or family member, you want to make the senior that you love feel safe and secure. Provide them with a positive and peaceful environment where they will know they are well cared for, loved and appreciated.

People with developmental disabilities are too often left at the mercy of other people. Doctors, support staff, social workers, family members, and others frequently make important decisions about people with disabilities without taking those people’s wishes into account. For the last few decades, though, people with disabilities have taken back control of their lives in major ways. The self-determination movement has been instrumental in this shift.

Self-determination: What is it?  

Self-determination is the seemingly simple idea that with people with disabilities should have power to make their own decisions. Instead of allowing medical professional, social workers, and family members control the day to day decisions of a person’s life, self-determination advocates argue that people with disabilities can and should make their own choices.

 

According to the Center for Excellence in Disabilities, self-determination is not necessarily synonymous with independence, although the two concepts have plenty of crossover. Self-determination is “about taking action in your life to get the things you want and need.” A person who needs help from staff to accomplish a goal, for instance, displays self-determination as along as they were the person who established that goal. Self-determination, then, is accessible to everyone with a disability, no matter how much assistance they may need.

 

For adults with developmental disabilities, especially those living in group homes, this path to self-development can be fraught with obstacles.

Obstacles

Let people run their own lives. Sounds simple enough and hard to disagree with, but in reality, self-determination runs up against some stubborn barriers. Why? Sometimes, it’s because people’s personal decisions conflict with expert advice. Smoking, drinking, and unhealthy diets are frequent points of contention. Guardians and support staff often feel it’s their duty to prevent people in their care from making such decisions. But if the people in their care are adults, don’t those people have the right to make those choices?

 

Moreover, advocates argue, not all questions of self-determination are a matter of freedom of choice versus responsible behavior. Many people with disabilities make the point that their wills are stifled not by well-wishers, but by support staff members who are simply too lazy or too controlling to help their clients reach their goals. Sure, these advocates concede, stopping someone from choosing to drink excessively is reasonable enough, but what about someone who wants to take a walk around the lake and is thwarted by a support staff member who wants to sit on the couch watching college football, or who overestimates the dangers of the weather? Framing the issue as simply a question of “to what degree should adults with disabilities be allowed to make bad choices?” is reductive, condescending, and a cop-out.

Success

The movement toward self-determination, in which people with disabilities set their own goals, and achieve those goals on their own terms, has been successful. In the last few years, we’ve seen comedians, actors, and athletes with developmental disabilities take massive strides towards running their own lives. A Finnish punk rock band made up of people with disabilities even made it to the 2015 Eurovision semi-finals. Not bad. These sorts of accomplishments would have been unthinkable to the community only a few decades ago, before people with developmental disabilities began standing up and demanding the right to run their own lives.