Georgia MENTOR, an organisation in the United States, has a long track record for offering programmes for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as medically complex conditions in the community.
Believing that people with special needs, are able to thrive in the community if they are given the right support, they offer Host Home and Group Home programmes for their clients.
Watch this video of Georgia MENTOR and the MENTOR Network’s clients in these programmes.
- The Host Home programme: In the Host Home programme, a client lives in the house of a Host Home Provider who is also called a Mentor. Mentors provide clients with 24-hour home-based monitoring, medication management oversight, community integration activities, life skills development, activities of daily living management, and transportation. Mentors are selected based on the skills needed to support adults with special needs. Mentors also receive round-the-clock guidance from an expert team.
- The Group Home programme: The Group Home programme offers two to four adults with special needs a place to stay with personalised support so that they have the opportunities to enjoy the activities of everyday life in their home and community. Like the Mentors in the Host Home Programme, Group Home programme staff members provide each client with round-the-clock care and support. The nature of support is similar to that given in to clients in the Host Home and programme. They also receive 24/7 on-call support from a team of experts so that they can manage each client’s care.
“The difference between an institutional setting and a community-based setting is the difference between a one-size-fits-all approach and a highly tailored individual approach. That’s what we are trying to do. We are trying to build a programme and an environment around an individual in his or her own home, “says Mr Ned Murphy, Executive Chairman, The MENTOR Network.
Both the Host Home and Group Home programmes allow clients to live more independently and to integrate into community life to the best of their ability. Being able to stay in such an environment rather than a larger institution can improve the quality of life for some clients.
At the same time, such programmes generate positive spillover effects into society-at-large. First, they give families increased confidence to continue to care for their loved ones at home or in the community, if they desire to do so.
Second, when there are services in place for the vulnerable in a society, its people can embrace the fact that a person’s life is valued above his ability to contribute economically.
There will be a growing sense of assurance that if any member of that society faces a similar situation, help will be available. People becomes more hopeful, meaningful, and less alienating when vulnerable members of society are accepted and embraced.
With Singapore’s rapidly ageing population and the longer average life expectancy for special needs adults, family caregivers require adequate disability support services to be able to cope. Such programmes like these can be adapted to the Singapore context.
About the Author: The COH Resource Team comprises volunteers, content writers and experts, including psychologists, counsellors, educators and social service professionals.