CL Learns and Changes as the People They Serve Age
Community Living (CL) has been affected by the several trends we see as the large baby boomer population ages. As a result, CL is shifting the way it provides services to some of the individuals in the program.
As this group ages, health concerns increase and mobility may decline. But the focus for ACT remains the same: providing person-centered planning that allows the people we serve to live as independently as possible.
Person-centered planning is an ongoing process that lays out goals and milestones for a person with a disability. The plan makes it possible for the person to improve her or his own independence and increase self-determination.
For most of his adult life (25 years), Larry has received services from ACT. He is also one of two of the oldest adults at ACT.
He’s experiencing many changes to his health. Staff has had to adjust by keeping up with his medical needs – doctors’ appointments are more frequent as his age makes him more susceptible to illness.
Ruth is also experiencing some of the affects of more advanced age. She has received services from ACT for nearly 10 years. Ruth came to ACT while grieving the loss of her significant other. That’s entirely new territory for CL employees.
Chris and Mila have been with CL since ACT’s beginnings, breaking barriers in the way people with disabilities live. Moving into an ACT supported home in the early 1990’s, they were the first two to receive CL services and the first in Missouri to live in an Independent Supported Living (https://actservices.org/chris-and-mila-missouris-first-in-isl).
As time goes on, our knowledge and understanding improve, and with them, our services improve too. Providing sign language and trust trainings have helped Direct Support Professionals offer better care while working with Mila, who is blind and deaf.
Perry has been with ACT for ?? years. His health has diminished during the last several years. But he and his family believe it is important for him to stay in his home. Perry’s family and CL employees made improvements to his house so it was possible. His aging roommates also benefited from the renovations. Perry is still in his home today.
Both Veronica and Allan have been medical marvels, facing illnesses that threatened their lives. CL employees were diligent in their care, sitting bedside at the hospital for countless hours and rushing them from one doctor appointment to another. Staff even received additional medical training so Allan and Veronica could return home.
These illnesses changed the way they received services, but the plan has remained the same: do what’s best for them, according to them.
Whether a person CL supports is young, old, or somewhere in between, his or her life course will likely change. It is the program’s goal to provide the best care to each individual through person-centered planning throughout the full range of each one’s life.