When you have a special needs adult child, you may not know what to do when you can no longer care for them. As a parent, it’s a scary thought to imagine who will take care of your child once you’re gone. This thought becomes more haunting as you age.
Until a child is 22, schools must meet the child’s needs. Once a child has “aged out,” parents are left to figure out a plan on their own. Knowing which long-term care option to choose for your adult child can be extremely difficult if you don’t know where to start. It can leave parents feeling uneasy about their child’s future.
What are some options I have?
- Family members: Many family members offer to help when the parents of special needs adult children are burnt out or need a break. Sometimes, your family members will offer to be there for your child once you can no longer care for them. Family caregivers are a great option, if they are willing. They are already familiar with your child and their needs. If they share their home, you know that your child will always have a safe place. This option can be difficult, though. Because the situation can create strain, it’s important to have an in-depth conversation about your child with your family members before cementing your plans.
- Personal care assistants (PCAs): PCAs are a great option when your family isn’t able to help you out. PCAs can help you with your child’s daily routine, keeping their day as normal as possible when you aren’t able to. This can be a smoother transition for your child’s everyday life as they adjust to someone else taking care of them more than you. PCAs can also be helpful in an independent living arrangement. Depending on the needs of your adult child, you can hire PCAs for a few hours a day to 24-hour assistance. If they move to a more independent living situation, your child can receive the care they need when they need it.
- Community-based homes and supported living arrangements: These group homes give disabled adults the support they need. Caregivers live and work in these homes to aid with medication and day-to-day life. Because residents live closer together and do activities with one another, there’s a strong social aspect. Finding an environment that improves the social aspect of one’s life is a huge benefit. It leads to a more balanced life. These homes will allow your adult child to maintain the socialization and programs similar to those that they had in schools when they were younger.
When you’re unsure of your child’s future, knowing the options that best fit your child is a great first step. You know your child better than anyone and know what kind of attention they need to feel safe. No matter where you are in your life, it’s always a good idea to have a long-term plan set in place.