What age does an individual need to be to begin services through Choices?
Individuals need to be 18 years old to receive our services, the same age as required by the state adults funding program. We can provide consultation prior to the 18th birthday, either to the family privately or by consultation with schools to assist with transition planning. Pre-planning is always a good idea, and we are happy to become involved in the planning process at whatever time families choose to engage our services. Some schools will pay for our consultation, other times, families will pay privately.
How are families involved?
The assistance of guardians and/or family members is necessary to complete the Choices application and assessment, intake process, to develop an individualized plan, and to begin services. In addition, involvement is needed to work collaboratively with the funding source and representative consultant agency. When services begin, families may choose how involved and in which ways they wish to be involved the daily lives of their loved ones. Some want regular contact and schedule times for regular visits or community outings. Many bring their loved ones back to their homes for a weekend, holidays or for other special events. Other families are not able to be as involved for a wide variety of reasons. Whatever the level of involvement desired, we will work with each individual and family to create a successful plan.
What about transportation?
There are a variety of options for transportation, and we can create a custom plan to fit each individual’s needs. Our experienced staff can provide transportation to any number of locations and activities. If housemates have similar schedules and attend similar activities, transportation can be shared, as well. Families may choose to assist with transportation for special outings or for specific activities, depending on their needs and preferences.
What if a special diet is needed?
We offer assistance in meal planning and personalize plans to fit the unique needs and preferences of our clients. Our focus is on healthy eating and providing learning opportunities around making good dietary choices. With the help of guardians or family members, we can also identify favorite foods and times when they are allowed, even if they are outside the regular healthy food plans. If residents have similar dietary needs, meal plans can be more successfully shared which allows for increased participation in planning, shopping, and meal preparation.
How are obsessive and compulsive behaviors and patterns addressed?
Some of our clients find certain activities or patterns reassuring, calming or pleasing. We work with families to ensure that non-invasive behaviors, patterns and preferences can be accommodated within the home environment. We can also create individualized plans for addressing problematic or interruptive behaviors in order to ensure personal growth and harmony in the home.
Do housemates do everything together?
We assist housemates in designing schedules that fit both of their needs. Many daily activities are shared, such as attending post-secondary educational opportunities, vocational learning sessions, volunteering, and many recreational activities. Leisure time and recreational activities are discussed and considered prior to final housemate confirmation to ensure a high degree of compatibility. House guidelines, such as taking turns choosing preferred activities, are established ahead of time so that everyone knows what to expect and has opportunity to choose. There may be activities that interest one person and not the other and it is possible to plan for singular activities, to fit the needs of each individual. These are often times when families choose to participate in activities with their loved ones (i.e. weekly bowling outing, visits to friends or other community outings).
Is there a part-time option?
One of the hallmarks of the Choices program is the flexibility to transition from a family home to a shared community home as quickly or slowly as needed for success. Some individuals are more ready and eager to begin living independently with supports, while others need a more gradual transition plan. We are able to accommodate the needs of each individual and have a variety of planned strategies to ensure that each person can transition successfully into the new home at the pace that is most appropriate. Part-time residents may choose which days of the week they wish to be in the new home, and we encourage housemates to work collaboratively to plan schedules for moving.
If a resident is at part-time status, can occasional full-time coverage be arranged if the family is planning to be away or unavailable for a period of time?
Yes. Arrangements are flexible. We are generally able to provide more care for an extended period with appropriate notice.
Who takes care of working out the budget?
We work closely with families and individual Iris/ILife Consultants to ensure that budgets are sufficient to allow for needed services. Depending on the types and levels of service desired, adjustments or amendments to current budgets may be needed. We can assist with those processes, as well.
What about tracking of service hours, time sheets, mileage and other business tasks?
All staff members are hired by Choices as our employees. They do not work directly for Iris/ILife or the individuals receiving services. As with any other business, we have our own system of time reporting, tracking of hours and payroll/compensation functions. Families do not need to submit time sheets or other reimbursement paperwork for staff, but will continue to receive data from Iris/ILife on the number and types of services billed on a monthly basis.
What if a housemate becomes ill?
Illness is handled on an individual basis, however, when people get sick, they generally want to be at home. Since this is the home environment, it is expected that individuals would remain in their homes. In the event of a significant illness or contagious condition, other arrangements can be made. If families prefer their loved ones to be with them during illness, this is, of course, certainly okay, but many times illness requires adjustment in family members’ working schedules and other accommodations. Our experienced staff will work with families and individuals to ensure that the health of the individual is the priority, and will provide care to the degree that they are qualified to do so.
What if families or housemates disagree on something?
We work closely with families and individuals to ensure that plans are as complete and thorough as possible. Agreeing ahead of time on house guidelines and procedures is an important planning component that helps to avoid later difficulty. That said, things do arise that can lead to disconnect. We work with individuals and families to understand the nature of the issue and keep the team focused on open communication and solution finding. We can facilitate strategic problem solving and will work positively with all parties until a resolution is implemented.