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  • Writer's pictureGray Matters Alliance

Residential Group Homes: Fostering Independence and Providing Support

Gray Matter Alliance accommodated individual utilizing a computer for assisted living in a group home for fostering independence and support opportunities

Parents and caregivers of individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) or intellectual and developmental disabilities want them to experience independence and lead a rich and fulfilling life. When living alone in an apartment isn’t a safe or feasible option, a group home or residence offers a feeling of independence with the necessary support.

What should families and caregivers look for in a group home, and what types of support do these communities provide? Here’s what to know.

Group Homes Provide Specialized Support

Not every group home can accommodate all individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities or TBI. When researching the best group homes in the area, parents and caregivers must consider an individual’s care and support needs.

Some homes provide group-living accommodations for individuals with autism, Down Syndrome, or nonspecific disabilities. As individuals with traumatic brain injury may require different care protocols and personalized support, caregivers should search for homes focused on TBI.

Group homes provide a community for those living there. Many group homes provide support and services for a specific diagnosis, ensuring that care is specialized and focused. In addition, a specialized focus creates a bonded community where all residents realize they have many commonalities, similar struggles, and can support each other, too.

Group Homes for Autism

For individuals with autism, group homes enable an independent living environment that is safe, supportive, and offers a social community. The autism spectrum is broad, and while not every individual diagnosed with autism requires daily support, some might never be able to live without parental or other supportive care.

Each group home and living community could offer different services and support for residents. For this reason, parents and caregivers must understand the individual’s needs. Do they need assistance with daily care tasks (i.e. brushing their teeth, bathing, etc.)? Is eloping a concern?

Many adults (and children) with autism want friendships but simply do not have the social understanding to facilitate friendships on their own. Group homes could provide organized recreational activities to encourage socialization and teach social skills, too. Other necessary supportive services might include: physical, occupational, and speech therapy.

Group Homes for Adults with Down Syndrome

A Down Syndrome diagnosis is not the same for each individual, and some adults with Down Syndrome can live alone with the right support systems in place. However, some individuals with Down Syndrome need more one-on-one support and care.

Group homes specialized in supporting individuals with Down Syndrome often provide various services. The most common services offered include job training, life skills classes, group activities, sports, and supportive therapies (occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, etc.).

These communities offer residents a sense of independence and help teach them how to navigate the world. Some group homes provide immersive and one-on-one care.

Adult Group Home for TBI

What is traumatic brain injury? A traumatic brain injury can happen in infancy from a fall, abuse, or even a severe accident. The Centers for Disease Control explains that adults can be diagnosed with TBI after a severe fall, car accident, abuse trauma, or even from a gunshot.

TBI can be severe and debilitating. For severe cases, a group home can provide support, necessary therapies, and daily care.

What is the Difference Between Assisted Living and Group Homes?

While many might conflate the term “assisted living” with senior care home, assisted living communities provide additional care and support for various mental health issues, intellectual and developmental disabilities, TBI, and other diagnoses that can impact independence.

Assisted living homes offer more support to residents and can monitor health conditions, administer medications, and provide staff to bathe, dress, and feed residents with more restrictive disabilities. Caregivers and parents for those who require more one-on-one support and assistance should focus their search on assisted living communities.

Vetting a Group Home

Parents and caregivers might fail to consider group homes because of horror stories related to abusive, dangerous, and unsanitary conditions. Fortunately, most group homes for children and adults are safe, trustworthy, and provide the daily care and support necessary to help residents live a more independent life.

Before choosing a group home, research the community, and schedule a tour. Conduct a thorough online search, and talk to doctors to find recommendations for the best group homes. During a tour, pay close attention to the residential spaces and ask to see a room. Consider meal options, therapy services, and other necessary supportive care options, too.

Plan for the Future

Not every group home is ideal for each individual. However, one of the most serious concerns for parents and caregivers is what happens to a child or dependent needing supportive care. For many caregivers, the best option is to find a group home for their child or loved one before the choice becomes someone else’s decision. Families unsure about which group home is best can reach out to their case manager for help and support.

For Agencies that offer group home services, let Gray Matters Alliance show you how smart home technologies can be implemented throughout the common areas of your homes to foster a more cohesive living experience for your residents.

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