The need to care for disabled children may continue into their adult years, even after the passing of their parents.
The care choices are wide ranging – family, health care aides, special care facilities, day programs, and group homes, among others. However, your child’s specific needs and your available financial resources may dictate which is appropriate for your situation.
Family members are a logical first choice for care. However, the physical, financial, and emotional demands must be considered.
Home health aides can provide respite for family caregivers. You may want to distinguish between individuals who work directly with a family versus those employed by a company, since the former may be less expensive.
In some situations, the relief provided by an aide may allow a family member to earn additional income in excess of the cost of a caregiver.
Some care needs may require an extended care facility.
In any case, there is a wealth of private and public resources available to help you through all phases of securing care for your child.
Whichever direction you take, you will want to perform due diligence on caregiver candidates.
For individual caregivers, ask about their education, experience, and skills. Do they match your child’s needs? Is the caregiver certified? Pose questions relating to your child’s unique situation. Be attuned to whether the candidate is empathetic or simply views caring for your child as a job.
Interviewing a care facility is equally about gauging competency and compassion. Ask about alleged abuse or neglect. What is the staff-to-patient ratio? Call response time? Is supervision present 24/7? What activities are offered? Does the facility have patients compatible to your child? Is the facility accredited? What’s the staff turnover rate?
In each case, ask for references and contact them.
Ongoing communication is critical to a caregiver understanding your expectations and meeting them. Set regular meetings with the caregiver and ask questions. Offer to volunteer time or join in activities, which can provide you with a deeper insight into care levels. Participation sends a strong message the facility that you play an active role in the well-being of your child.