WHAT IS SHARED LIVING?
The United Arc’s Shared Living program provides an alternative residential setting to the 24-hour group home. This model provides an opportunity for an individual who is receiving services through the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to live with someone who wants to make an individual with intellectual disabilities part of their life and family.
Possible arrangements include:
HOW DO I QUALIFY TO BECOME A SHARED LIVING PROVIDER?
Shared living is a long-term relationship, so the United Arc takes many steps to find the right match for a provider and an individual.
HOW WILL I BE COMPENSATED?
The amount of the tax-free stipend is determined though an assessment performed jointly by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and the United Arc and is based on the needs of the individual. The stipend paid to the home share provider includes all charges for care (room and board). Personal expenses are paid by the individual.
WHAT IS SHARED LIVING LIKE?
Shared Living is like adding a member to your family — like the adoption process. It is expected that the individual would join in social activities as appropriate and be included in the daily life and schedule of the family. Shared living care is tailored to the needs of the individual, but most individuals need help with the activities of daily life, including meal preparation, medication management, financial transactions, and transportation to appointments. They also will look to the shared living provider to be a source of social engagement and community. For some individuals, additional direct care may be required and provided. This will be determined by the United Arc and DDS prior to placement. If the individual is sick or another emergency arises, it is expected that the shared living provider will make appropriate arrangement for care coverage, just as you would with any other member of the family. That said, the same assessment process that determines the amount of the stipend will also determine the amount of respite coverage that will be available to the provider. Respite coverage ranges from two to five weeks per year.
WHAT DOES THE DEPARTMENT OF DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES (DDS) EXPECT FOR A SHARED LIVING PLACEMENT?
Oversight of the shared living provider and individual is performed by DDS and its Office of Quality Enhancement (OQE). The United Arc performs monthly visits and files a report based on the individual’s health and well-being, safety, training needs, social engagement, financial transactions, and benefits. The OQE also does a survey on at least a bi-annual basis.
Some required items include:
What is the Time Commitment of the Provider?
Every shared living situation is different and as a result the arrangement may last a couple of years to several decades. For some individuals shared living is an opportunity to gain skills and confidence prior to moving on to their own home. For other individuals shared living is their home and will be for the foreseeable future. A core principle of shared living is the development of long-term relationships. Provided the match is going well, the shared living commitment is measured in years not months.
What is Expected of the Provider in the Shared Living Role?
The overall role of a caregiver is to establish a safe home where the individual can be empowered. They advocate for the individual to experience opportunities for self-determination and independence. Encourage the individual to participate in the community and form relationships, support their goals and dreams, and they assist with daily routines and activities.
What is the Role of Families? Expectations and What is Trying to be Achieved Between Provider and Natural Family
Family members play an important role in all phases of the placement process – selection of a caregiver, development of a transition plan and on- going support following placement. We want to create a partnership between family members and caregivers and not a “rivalry” while providing support that reflects the individual’s needs and preferences. It is important to establish clear and open lines of communication to facilitate that outcome. When a disagreement does occur, staff of the provider agency and the Department should play a role to help reach a resolution.
Do you think shared living might be right for you? Call us at 413.774.5558 or email firstname.lastname@example.org