Housing Options For Adults With Special Needs
In the last few decades, housing options for adults with special needs have expanded well beyond institutions. This shift stems from the desire to give all people dignity, confidence, and the highest possible quality of life.
The Supreme Court agrees. In 1999, the Court decided that adults with disabilities must live in the most integrative or least restrictive environment for their needs. The right housing placement is appropriate for the individual and provides accommodations for the individual’s special needs.
Additionally, the individual must agree to the placement.
How To Choose Housing For Adults With Special Needs
As you decide on the right housing for your loved one with special needs, consider all of the possibilities.
Housing for adults with special needs include options like:
- Living alone
- Living with family
- Living with roommates
- Private communities
- Group homes
- Assisted living facilities
- Skilled nursing facilities or nursing homes
An adult with special needs may wish to live alone and exercise his or her independence. Your loved one can choose to live alone in a backyard apartment, apartment complex, mobile home, house, or another housing unit.
This option is usually best for an individual who is equipped with essential life skills that support independent living. However, your loved one can also continue to access the additional care he or she needs, such as transportation, job training, and counseling services.
To finance an apartment or another solo living arrangement, your loved one may use earnings from a job. Government benefits like SSI or private funding from a relative or friend may also cover living expenses.
Living with family
Your family member with special needs may feel more comfortable living in the home of parents or other family members.
Your loved one could continue to occupy his or her childhood bedroom or move into an accessory dwelling unit (in-law suite) or backyard apartment that’s equipped with a separate living area, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom.
Choosing to live with parents eliminates the stress of transitioning to a different environment. Also, your loved one remains surrounded by a supportive network of familiar faces who have experience meeting his or her unique needs.
Alternatively, living with parents or family members may limit your loved one’s exposure to life experiences. Also, when aging parents or family members can no longer provide quality care, the transition to different housing may be traumatic.
Medicaid funds can pay for your loved one to live with parents or family members. Individuals may also be able to work or use SSI benefits to cover this housing expense.
Living with roommates
If your loved one is fairly independent, he or she may wish to find a roommate and move into a private home, apartment, or other shared living space. One or more roommates can provide companionship for your loved one and split the living expenses and chores.
With this shared living opportunity, your loved one retains his or her independence and learns how to manage daily responsibilities. He or she also gains new social and life experiences.
Some families purchase a home or rent an apartment for their family member with special needs to share with a roommate. Your loved one could also use his or her paycheck, SSI benefits, or private funding to support this living arrangement.
Living in a private community
In a private community, also called a dedicated facility or residential living for adults with disabilities, your loved one lives independently within a community. Surrounded by beneficial supports, he or she may share an apartment, cottage, or house with several other adults on a campus that also houses a few or dozens of residents.
This housing placement gives your loved one daily opportunities to engage in social events, share chores, and participate in group activities while receiving the support he or she needs.
He or she can get a job to pay for private community housing. Funding for this housing option for adults with special needs is achieved with SSI or private sources.
Living in a group home
Supportive housing offered in a group home gives your family member with special needs the assistance he or she needs to be as independent as possible. Provisions are also in place to meet your loved one’s physical, emotional, and mental health needs.
The staff in a group home varies based on the home and your loved one’s needs and can include personal care attendants, counselors, and other professionals who understand their specific needs and provide residential, behavioral, and other support.
This housing placement provides your loved one with opportunities to interact with other group home residents, help with chores, and participate in social activities.
Funding for group home care includes employment or private payment. Group homes may also accept Medicare, Medicaid or payment from certain government programs that are dedicated exclusively to people with disabilities, such as a Community Living waiver (also known as a CL waiver).
Living in an assisted living facility
Within an assisted living building, complex or facility, your loved one can reside in an individual apartment with or without a roommate. He or she will have access to housekeeping services, personal care services, medical care, transportation, social events, and other care as needed.
An assisted living facility provides the exact support your loved one needs. He or she can receive non-skilled care, such as bathing, cleaning, and meal prep. Your loved one could also receive care for neurological conditions or dementia.
To fund assisted living, you will need private insurance or financial resources from another private source. Many assisted living facilities do not accept Medicare or Medicaid.
Living in a skilled nursing facility or nursing home
A person with special needs who requires medical care may choose to live in a nursing home. Staff in a skilled nursing facility can supervise daily care, meet your loved one’s medical needs, and provide physical, occupational, and speech therapy.
Skilled nursing facilities or nursing homes are designed for individuals with fairly serious disabilities. This housing option may be the right choice for your aging loved one if your family can no longer provide the care your family member needs.
While beneficial, a nursing home is also expensive and may cost thousands of dollars a month. Private payment or Medicaid may be used to cover the cost.
Assessing Housing For Adults With Special Needs
When your loved one with special needs is ready to find housing, consider these options.
They all provide the independence, confidence, and quality of life your family member needs, wants and deserves.