Rogan's Story: Sponsored Residential Home Ownership
I have walked into chaos. There are three teen age girls listening to loud music down the hall; two eight-year-old boys are arguing over the rules of a video game; Jasmine the dog is barking at the boys; and a large cat sits on the back of the couch, serenely taking it all in. In the midst of all this activity and noise is our physically and intellectually disabled son, bouncing up and down, happy in his home.
Knowing the noise will give me a headache within ten minutes, I cannot help but smile when I think back to our house and how our son would often sit in his room, staring at the walls, watching movies, bored with living with his comparatively sedate parents. He was not unhappy then, but he is happier now. He has stimulation, activity, friends and frequent interactions with his new family. He now lives versus exists.
His transition to his new home started when my wife and I reluctantly acknowledged that someday we are going to die, and so our son would require long term care.
We considered group homes, but believed that model was not a good fit as he does not speak and has very limited communication skills, and so he cannot express his concerns or needs. We thought the sponsored residential model (sometimes called Adult Foster Care), where a disabled individual moves into a caregiver’s home, offered the best alternative. However, we had a concern with the typical sponsored residential housing model in that if, for whatever reason, the caregiver stopped providing care, our son would lose both his caregiver and housing at the same time. Such an event could result in a complete reworking of everything in his life, especially if he had to move from his community.
We had heard of parents buying homes for their disabled children and so we began looking into purchasing a house as a twist on the standard sponsored residential model.
By owning the home, and having a caregiver family (or person or persons) move into the home with our son, we ensured he would always remain in a known environment that encompasses his outside the home activities such his day program, recreation, and favorite local trips, as well as the important people in his life, such as doctors and friends. If the wonderful caregiver we have now does decide to stop caregiving, our son has only one trauma, albeit a major one, to adapt to versus having two or three traumas that could come with adapting to a new care giver in a different house in a possibly different town.
Ten days after moving into the house with his caregiver family, our son was given a choice of returning for dinner to Mom and Dad’s, or going to his new family home. Without hesitation he chose his new home.