When the idea of moving my son into a residential facility became an option, I had a vision of the type of home I wanted for him. I imagined the residential facility as being perfect or at least, as close to perfection as possible.
I wanted the facility to sit on a large acre of land. The lawn had to be well manicured, beautifully landscaped, with rich green grass, and meticulously placed flowers. I desired the housing for the residents, to be immaculate, as well. It would have a noticeable sparkle from the constant cleaning. It would also be a modern facility, with beautiful decor, the latest furnishings, and new appliances.
Nate’s new home would be a loving, caring, and friendly environment. The staff had to be respectful and kind to all of the residents, making sure that they had all of their needs met.
Lastly, I dreamed of the facility having a large parent and family involvement group or committee. I wanted a place where parents and families worked together for the betterment of the residents and the facility, making it one big happy family.
However, when I began the process of locating the right home for Nate, I realized that my dreams were just that, dreams. Instead, I learned three things about residential homes for the disabled.
First, I learned that no residential facility is perfect. In my extensive research, I found that all facilities have problems. Some could have few problems or a number of problems. In my search, I was led to a government website that showed violations of many of these residential facilities. In studying them, I noticed that the issues could range from mismanagement of the facility, procedural violations, building code violations, or more. No matter where the residential facility was located and how wonderful I thought it would be for my child, there were problems.
Next, I learned that no residential facility has perfect employees. As in any job, you have workers that have a passion for the work and you have others that work without the same compassion and diligence. Sadly, I have seen numerous reports of incidences of mistreatment, including neglect, and abuse.
I also found that many residential facilities, had staffing concerns. Many positions went unfilled. Workers worked long hours, sometimes overtime, in a field that offered low pay and benefits that were subpar or none at all.
Lastly, I learned that many agencies lack parent and family involvement. In some facilities there could be a large family presence and in others there was little or none at all. Some residents had no family members that were directly involved in their care. They had no visitors and never went home.
Sadly, at the end of my research for the “perfect facility” for Nate, I understood that there was none. I learned that instead of looking for a perfect place that didn’t exist, I had to pray for wisdom. And that is exactly what God gave me. He gave me the wisdom and knowledge that guided me to locate the residential home that was right for my son.