Where Will I Live?: A Guide for Young Adults with Disabilities
Leaving high school and transitioning into adulthood can be a time of excitement and uncertainty for young adults with disabilities. One of the most important questions they face is, “Where will I live?” Fortunately, there are various living arrangements to consider.
Living Arrangements for Young Adults with Disabilities
Choosing the right living arrangement depends on the individual’s needs, abilities, and aspirations. Here are some of the most common living arrangements for young adults with disabilities:
- Living with Family: Many young adults with disabilities start by living with their parents or family members. This arrangement can provide a sense of security and support, but it’s often considered a short-term solution. Families may not always be in a position to provide care indefinitely. Therefore, it’s important to discuss long-term plans and encourage young adults to develop essential independent living skills, such as housekeeping, shopping, cooking, and budgeting. The “Community Living” section of the Utah Parent Center’s Choices Book and the Youth Workbook are resources full of information and practical tools parents can use to guide and support their children during this exploratory process.
- Living Independently: Some young adults choose to live independently. They may live on their own or with roommates in a house or apartment. Independence is the key here, although family members or adult service providers can offer assistance through periodic visits or phone contact if necessary.
- Supervised Living Arrangements: Supervised living arrangements, like supervised apartments, provide a structured environment for individuals who require some support due to their disabilities. In these settings, young adults receive ongoing assistance and training in independent living skills. This includes meal planning, using community resources, and managing finances. Supervision is typically provided by trained professionals from local adult service providers.
- Residential Care Facility: This is an option for young adults who may not be able to live independently, but can participate in community activities with minimal supervision. These group homes use community resources for various needs, including recreation, medical care, and social services. Staff members work with residents to develop their independent living skills.
- Professional Parent or Host Home: A professional parent or host home is a private household that offers a secure and social living environment for young adults unable to live independently. Families in these homes provide room and board, and they also organize social, educational, and recreational activities within the community.
- Intermediate Care Facility: These facilities provide round-the-clock care for individuals who require ongoing nursing and medical services due to an illness or disability. These services are administered by registered or licensed practical nurses and doctors. Resources for intermediate care facilities in Utah can be obtained through the Division of Services for People with Disabilities (DSPD).
- Self-Administered Services (SAS): SAS is an alternative to services provided by agencies. It allows people with disabilities and their families in Utah to choose their own service providers who offer support within their homes. This option empowers individuals and their families to hire, train, and supervise employees who provide direct support in a home setting. You can find more information about SAS through DSPD or the Family to Family Network in Utah.
For young adults with disabilities in Utah, the Division of Services for People with Disabilities (DSPD) is a valuable resource. DSPD can provide information and assistance in finding the right living arrangement, as well as support for families and individuals. It’s important to note that there can be waiting lists for some community residential service programs, so early contact with DSPD is recommended.
Additionally, the Family to Family Network offers guidance, support, and information to individuals with disabilities and their families. They can provide more information about self-administered services and other resources available across the state.