When your family includes a child or adult with special needs, you may worry about providing for their long-term care. There are many options available, each with their own costs and potential benefits. Here are some scenarios you may want to consider as you develop your plans.
Living at home
Many people with special needs live at home with family members where they receive care and companionship. This may require one parent or relative to leave their job to act as a full-time caregiver.
A person with special needs may benefit from a professional caregiver who can assist with basic tasks and help with attending school, medical appointments or social activities.
Adult day programs
Day programs for adults with disabilities are typically open during business hours and provide meals, activities and various levels of care for people with physical limitations or cognitive disabilities.
There may be residential communities for adults with special needs in your area. These group homes — with provided services such as housekeeping, meals, laundry and transportation — give adults with special needs the opportunity to live independently from their families.
A live-in facility that provides around-the-clock personal care, supervision, meals and activities is an option for people who need 24-hour care.
Not every adult with special needs can work, but for those who can, there are many jobs that can accommodate them. Work that can be performed from home — such as web development, graphic design and accounting — may be an option for those with physical disabilities. And for special needs adults that work with cognitive impairments, working in retail, food services or hospitality are just a few of many possibilities.
What works best for you and your loved one depends on your financial resources and the level of care they need. While residential options providing 24-hour supervision tend to be the most expensive, an adult with a permanent disability and without work options may qualify for government assistance that can subsidize those costs. And adults with special needs who can earn a paycheck may be able to combine that income with some other government assistance to cover many of their basic expenses. The key is to determine your needs and then work toward a plan that meets them.