Look Around to Get Strength and Perspective.

My sister and her baby.

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Self-Care Tip #145 – Look around to get strength.

I was talking with my colleague, Janice, who works intimately in the area of group homes and advocating for the clients.  I asked her to tell me something about them.

There are times when parents give up and they can’t provide.

I wrote a blog-post some time ago relating to this as I work with many families who are near this point or past it.  Taking care of ourselves can be hard enough in this world, let alone a disabled child or two, or three…  I’ve seen marvelous results from placements.   However, my blog-post, “Get in Someone’s Space” got a response that was not so complimentary.  I asked Janice about where she thought the comment was coming from.

There are a lot of good group homes but many are not.  The workers are paid minimum wage often and they are saints.  There are about 1/2 and 1/2 that are good v. not good.  They can make a lot of money potentially.  In some of the homes, the workers are ambivalent at best.  It is a job to them.  If they do care but are surrounded by people who don’t care they lose steam.  They can’t do it all.  Emergency homes are also useful to give parents a relief.

Some of the disabled in placement have no family involved.  Others do.  And in those that do have involved family give their family some time to recharge while in placement.  The family can recharge and use that new energy for things like continue to “shop” further for the best fit for placement.  It can be work to find the right placement and get someone moved there.  Then after that challenge is met, families will find other struggles.  Struggles such as placement being so far that the family can’t visit or be as involved as they’d like.  They find, as we all do at some ah-ha moment(s) in life, that we can’t have it all.

Mr. Rick stated it well.

I will not be a victim while choosing my burdens.

We could also say, “I will not be a victim while choosing my benefits,” perhaps.

I understand that the topic of disabled family and/or group home placements may not interest all of us.  It may not appear at the surface to be an issue involving eternal truths.  Yet, we see that it does.  We are, each of us, not so far removed from unfair life circumstances.  From choices that look “bad and also bad.”  Or could we say, rather, that look to be choices between “one benefit and another,” knowing that we can’t have it all?

No.  We are not so far away from the single mother raising her two mentally retarded children.  We are not that distant from the caregiver with license to house five children but can’t find good staffing.  We can see the fetal-alcohol syndrome child who got what he got from birth and will live where they are until they die with staff as their family.

To my parents who can’t give any more, choose your benefits.  They are there.  To my kids who are confused by their own behaviors and emotions, to my staffers who struggle to understand the value of their jobs, to you who feel more of the burdens than the benefits, to all of us, we are the same in this.  We are each other’s “people.”  We have this knowing.

Look around.  Gather strength and make your choices.

Question:  What has enabled your perspective?  What part came without effort and what part didn’t?  Please tell me your story.

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