Not all individuals have family members to be their main caregivers. A bit more than a year ago we met a woman, who had moved to the area of our church sharing an apartment with an elderly woman in the home of the granddaughter of the lady she lives with. This young woman’s parents have died and the main people involved in her day to day life are not directly related. We met her through the independent facilitator who contacted our church and we have been giving her a ride to church. We are a small and older congregation so there is not a lot of excitement but we are told that just a regular opportunity to get out with other people for a morning has really been a help and her smile and delight in being there has been good for all. The people she lived with would never have reached out to the church on their own and we would not have met her as it is easy to be isolated in new subdivisions. The IF has assisted with hiring supporters as needed, finding activities and generally taking the load off of the kind people who are providing a home and all the companionship they have time to provide. If the support of IF is removed it is going to make it so much more difficult for all and the next time there is a need for change in arrangements there will be no outside support and the outcome might be less positive.
We know of one other family this same facilitator has helped with great success. Their daughter has recovered from health issues, has been assisted to get a job and an apartment to share with a roommate after supporting the development of a positive relationship between the two. The people who do hold the IF positions are carefully chosen, exceptionally involved and caring people who always give way more than they are paid to do and it is money well spent. Much better to pay the relatively small amount for IF than to further burden the health system, in particular because of mental health issues which can interfere with any happiness or life satisfaction for individuals and their caregivers.
This same IF supporter has been particularly effective at finding people jobs and doing the job shadowing with them until they can be successful. A job is one measure of success that gives people status and some added income as well as the benefit of a group of people at work who can hopefully enrich their lives socially too.
On a personal level our family has benefited greatly from individual assistance to our daughter, at first during the transition from school to adult life including getting a paid job for 12 hours a week which lasted for over 9 years after she graduated from high school. Emotional issues involving anxiety and depression, eventually, developed and meant a long recovery time at home with parents and then much support has been needed to develop a new life plan with qualified support workers and new activities. As we age, the huge issue for all parents is where our adult children will live when we are unable to care for them and how we can best make sure that the support is in place so the arrangement works for all family members.
Again, independent facilitation to explore housing options or help in setting up an apartment in the family home is of great value for all involved and of benefit to society as a whole . We have not been part of this current IF project which, regrettably, may not continue. We have been fortunate to find and put together support from various places but not all families could give the time, resources nor have the connections, family and community support which has sustained our daughter and ourselves and helped her to be at a happy place once again. New needs will arise as she ages and we do hope that there is always some availability of independent facilitation to call on to help us and her brothers as time goes on.