Offering an answer to that agonizing question: “Who will look after our child when we are gone?”
Parents of a child with disabilities are usually their child’s primary advocates. At each stage of their child’s life they monitor programs and progress, and pursue strategies to accommodate their special healthcare needs.
As parents grow older and have to confront the realities of their own aging, they realize how difficult it is to ensure an appropriate future for their disabled child. Furthermore, People with disabilities now have longer life expectancies. This presents a challenge to families and state and federal governments. Often there is insufficient support in the home for aging parents attempting this care. And government programs designed to assist people with disabilities are short-funded.
Designed by a group of human service professionals, parents, and business people, who had become acutely conscious of the growing need for care of older people with disabilities, Disabled and Alone / Life Services for the Handicapped is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families plan for the time when they will no longer be here to help their disabled loved one.
How Disabled and Alone Works
Each disabled individual being served gets a local Personal Advocate to perform two key functions:
- Work directly with the individual’s family, developing a plan for the future of their loved one.
- Serve as the lifetime advocate for the person with disabilities when the parents die or are unable to fulfill the role.
This “matched” professional helps the family complete a Planning Journal. This is when the family creates or identifies an asset to pass on to the disabled member and develops a well thought out plan to benefit the individual upon the death of their current guardians. In most cases, the staff and volunteers representing Life Services are seen as “members of the family.”
Roslyn Brilliant, Executive Director of Life Services, says, “Each person with a disability is very different, and every family’s circumstances are so unique that there can never be a ‘cookie cutter’ approach to meeting needs. We enter the lives of our disabled clients with understanding and work at becoming real life-long friends. It is a challenging and extremely rewarding assignment.”
Although the future is always unknown, Life Services provides parents the much needed guidance and support to plan for their children’s future. The organization is self-sufficient and conducts its own fundraising activities to supplement funds contributed by parent members. To join the program, families pay a one-time membership fee and begin the planning process with a local Personal Advocate selected by the family and the organization.
Parents who wish to do affordable long term planning for their disabled family member(s) and who have assets to leave them, are encouraged to contact Disabled and Alone – Life Services for more details, as are working professionals who wish to offer their services as Personal Advocates.
Disabled and Alone – Life Services Locations
61 Broadway, Suite 510
New York, NY 10006
Fax: (212) 532-3588
Southeast Regional Office
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921 Rockledge Drive
Rockledge, FL 32955