A group home is a living accommodation option for people with disabilities. Living in a group home may be a good option for those individuals who do not need advanced medical care but cannot safely live alone. The care in a group home setting allows residents to receive extra support in a community setting without sacrificing their independence.
The size of group homes varies, but generally they tend to be smaller than most long-term care facilities. They may offer shared spaces for residents, and bedrooms may be private or shared with a roommate.
How Can the Staff of an Adult Group Home Help My Loved One?
People living in group homes may have significant difficulties performing activities of daily living (ADLs).
Examples of these essential daily activities include:
Staff at group homes may assist with these activities in addition to others, such as housekeeping, transportation, and monitoring prescription medications. Some group homes also offer rehabilitative services and employ specialists, including speech therapists, physical therapists, and counselors, to support residents with disabilities.
Group homes also help residents stay active socially. Living with a disability can bring feelings of loneliness and bouts of isolation. Group homes provide socially stimulating activities that keep residents engaged. Many group homes provide residents with activities like field trips, shopping, games, and other entertainment.
What to Look for in Group Homes for Adults With Disabilities
Choosing the right place is important. This will be your loved one’s home, so you will want a facility that is safe, can cater to their needs, and meets your basic standards. Some things to consider when evaluating a group home include:
- The level of training provided for and completed by employees
- The cleanliness of the facility and how well-groomed the residents appear
- How the facility handles medical emergencies
- Whether there is professional medical care on-site or immediately available
- How easily residents can contact family members and others outside the facility
- Whether there is a waiting list and how long the wait for admission may be
Remember that it is OK to ask questions. You should gather all the information available to ensure you and your loved one feel comfortable living in the space you all choose.
How Can I Pay for a Group Home?
Paying for ongoing medical care can quickly become expensive. Private group homes can range from tens of thousands of dollars to more than $100,000 per year for full service. Group homes can be beneficial to many families, but they may prove too expensive for some.
Medicaid is a federally funded health insurance program that provides low-income Americans with health care coverage if they qualify. Each state decides how to allocate the federal funds they receive. Some states allow Medicaid to pay for a group home or adult foster care services through a waiver program. To learn more about your options, and to find out whether you qualify for coverage, check with your state’s Medicaid office.
Note that, depending on their state, individuals with disabilities receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits who move into a group home setting may be eligible for an additional supplemental payment.
Military veterans with disabilities who qualify for Aid and Assistance benefits may also be able to receive financial support that can help pay for care in certain types of accommodations, such as group homes.
Certain nonprofits help cover expenses for group home care. A special needs planner may be able to assist you in finding a program that will fit the needs of your loved one. Find a qualified special needs planner in your area.
Beyond Institutional Care
Group homes are set up to provide a homelike setting. For decades, many individuals with disabilities were placed in large institutions where they lacked autonomy, privacy, and interaction with the larger community.
In the 1960s and 1970s, a movement toward deinstitutionalization emerged, with the late 1990s marking a major shift in policy. For individuals in the disability community who qualify for government benefits, a 1999 landmark Supreme Court decision secured the legal right to live in the least restrictive setting possible. As a result of this ruling, many individuals who had been confined to institutional settings like nursing homes and psychiatric facilities had the choice to live their lives as more integrated members of their community.
Additional Resources on Group Homes for Disabled Adults
We all feel compelled to protect those we love who have disabilities. Providing them with quality of life as well as a sense of dignity and independence requires learning what is best for their care. The following organizations in your state may be a good place to start if you and your family believe that finding a group home is the best next step for your loved one’s care:
- Centers for Independent Living
- State affiliates of the National Alliance on Mental Illness
- State agencies supporting people with intellectual/developmental disabilities
If you have questions about health care or housing options for a loved one living with disabilities, contact a special needs planner near you.