When you’re a parent, it’s natural to be concerned about your child’s wellbeing, and that doesn’t stop when they grow up. This is especially true when you’re the parent of a teen or adult with intellectual disability (ID). Now that your child is older, you might wonder what the best option is to ensure their quality of life, now and in the future. Is a residential home the best option? That depends on the unique needs of your child and your family.
The Housing Options Available for Adults with ID
There are several housing options available for adults who are living with ID. Which option is best for your loved one will depend on their strengths and challenges, their preferences, and the resources available to your family.
If the individual wants to be completely independent and has the necessary life skills, they can live alone in an apartment, house or other home. They can use earnings from a job or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments – sometimes known as ‘disability payments’ – to pay for the expenses associated with getting their own place. They may even be eligible to receive a loan to buy their own home.
Living With Parents or Other Family Members
If living alone isn’t possible or desirable at the moment, living with parents or other family members is a convenient choice. Living at home allows the people who care about the individual most and who know them best to spend time with them and look after them. But living at home isn’t always the best choice, especially as parents or other caregivers get older.
Living With Roommates
If your child would prefer to live away from home, but could benefit from living with others, they might consider living with roommates. Even more independent adults with ID who could live alone might instead opt to live with roommates for the benefits of companionship, or to reduce the costs of living.
Living in a Residential Home
Residential homes are especially designed for adults with ID. This supportive housing option gives your child the assistance they need, but still allows them to be as independent as possible. While provisions are put in place to help meet your child’s unique needs, they are also encouraged to care for themselves and for their home as much as they can. Living in a residential home also means that your loved one will have plenty of opportunities to make friends, learn responsibility, and develop as a person.
Residential homes typically have staff, which can vary based on the needs of the residents, but may include personal care attendants, counselors and other professionals who can provide high-quality medical and behavioral care for individuals with ID. Access to mental health professionals is important because individuals with ID are more likely to develop mental health conditions like substance dependence, depression, anxiety, and trauma.
Residential homes managed by Western Tidewater Community Services Board employ overnight staff members that respond to any health, medical or behavioral needs of residents.
WTCSB offers several group home residential programs that are located throughout Suffolk and Isle of Wight. Prospective residents are usually referred to the program by WTCSB’s Intellectual Disability case managers, or from another community service board.
Living in an Assisted Living Community
Someone with ID might choose to live in an assisted living facility. While assisted living communities are often thought of as homes for older adults, they can often accommodate anyone who may need a little extra help with activities of daily living (ADLs). If your child is somewhat independent, but needs some help with ADLs like bathing, grooming, eating, etc., then an assisted living community might be the right fit for them. However, assisted living communities are often occupied by mostly older adults, so if your loved one is younger and would prefer to live with people their own age, it might not be the best choice.
Living in a Skilled Nursing Facility
A skilled nursing facility, sometimes called a nursing home, is not preferred by most families, but it is sometimes the best choice. If your loved one needs specialized 24-hour care, or if you want to take advantage of Medicaid benefits, a skilled nursing facility may be the best choice. But, like assisted living communities, it typically doesn’t allow your adult child to live with people their own age.
How to Choose the Best Housing Option for ID
Choosing the right housing option can be a little overwhelming, for both the individual with ID and for their family, but you can start by asking a few simple questions. You can begin to think about housing options by sitting down with your loved one and going over the following questions with them:
- Do you want to live alone, and can you do that?
- Or would you rather live with other people, so you have the option of companionship and socializing?
- If so, would you rather live in a house or apartment with roommates (who may be more private or less involved with your life) or would you rather live in a community where roommates share meals and spend more time together?
- Do you want to live with family? If so, which family members would you be interested in living with, and who would not be a good fit for you?
- Is there maybe a friend you’d like to live with? Would that work out for them?
- What is the budget for housing? Can you use SSI payments, earnings from a job, Medicaid benefits, or something else to help pay for housing?
A Community of Hope and Caring
At Western Tidewater CSB, we find our purpose in providing hope for our community members, especially the ones society most often overlooks. If you’re looking for housing options for an adult child with ID, we can help. To find out more about our residential options and other services for families living with ID, make an appointment today for same-day access, or call us at 757-758-5106.