The Options for Community Living Program is a community-based supported living model of services implemented to meet the needs of individuals with developmental/physical disabilities. Individuals receive supports while residing in accessible apartments in eastern Massachusetts communities. The service model resembles that of independent living programs with additional supports to address skill areas which an individual cannot presently manage independently.
Assistance provided is designed to enable each person to achieve maximum functional skill levels in areas such as personal care attendant management, transportation, finances, health management, household management, community access, self-advocacy, self-care and social/recreation. To prevent case management from becoming a vehicle of dependency, staff intervention is limited to the lowest degree of assistance necessary to enable a person to pursue independent living goals. The case manager’s tasks are purposely geared toward enabling a person to implement his/her initiatives and offering technical assistance to supplement skills affected by an individual’s disability-related impairments.
Program participants take part in an assessment of their needs and desired supports at least annually. There is strong emphasis on goal setting and decision-making. The individual determines goals as part of the planning process. The case manager utilizes flexible supports that decrease as a person’s skills increase. Skills training (rather than doing for the participant) begin by assessing current skills in a given area. An individually tailored teaching plan, based on the participant’s learning style, is developed with a plan for fading supports incorporated. If the case manager needs to complete a task due to a person’s physical or cognitive limitations, then that individual is encouraged to direct the task to be completed as he/she prefers. This is empowering to that person, permits personal control, and facilitates independence.
Although individual goals are determined through a process of assessment and dialogue with program participants, the Options Program has general goals for all participants. These include living as independently as possible, increasing individual control, promoting the rights and dignity of individuals with disabilities, educating people with regard to their rights and assisting them to self-advocate for those rights or desires, being involved as contributing members of the community, developing a variety of relationships within the community, avoiding or reversing the isolation that is much too common among people with physical or developmental disabilities, fostering personal growth and accomplishing personal goals.
The Options for Community Living Program prevents institutionalization and provides an alternative to family care. Services and supports are provided on an individual basis according to need.
Individuals participating in this program are typically 18 years old or older; have a physical, cognitive, or developmental disability; emotionally and medically stable; and meet the appropriate admission criteria for the state agency providing funding for his or her supports.
For more information about Options for Community Living, please contact UCP at (617) 926-5480 or send an e-mail.