If you’re the care giver of a mentally retarded person it can be extremely challenging under the best of circumstances. If the person is your son or daughter you, like any parent, want the best for him or her. There is any number of things, or combinations of things, that can be the matter with your loved one. In addition to the mental retardation, vision, hearing, speech and motor skill problems are among the major challenges faced by the mentally challenged.
In some cases a mentally challenged person can be a danger. Some harm themselves intentionally and others, unwittingly. This can be the biggest hurdle faced by the care givers of the challenged. Some experts say that the reason many mentally challenged people hurt themselves on purpose is because of the frustration of being unable to speak their minds or accomplish simple tasks. Some challenged people hurt themselves unintentionally because they’re fascinated with fire or even blood.
Keeping an eye on these citizens is very important. Sometimes it comes to a point where the relative can no longer care for the person and keep them perfectly safe. When this is the case it’s a traumatic experience for yourself and the mentally challenged. Changing home situations is not easy but there is help.
Many relatives of the mentally handicapped continue to try and provide care for their loved one for the simple fact that they think there is no where to put him. Or, they think the only place to put him is in a home for the mentally insane. Not true.
There are group homes which allow the mentally challenged to live in a house with others that have similar problems. A trained helper is provided for each person, or in some cases, for each two people. Group events include cooking together, going on outings together and even sharing bedrooms. Each person is given his own bed and chores for the room and is expected to perform minor tasks around the house.
The group homes are a great way to know your child is cared for, makes friends, and is still living as normal a life as possible. Sometimes jobs are found for the adult-child whereby they will be driven back and forth to work and given their weekly paychecks. Housing is paid for by the community or the government so your child’s check doesn’t have to be spent on housing expenses. Instead he can purchase his own clothing, special foods or drinks, and movies or Christmas presents for his family.
The sad fact is that many of the adults who come to live at these homes are abandoned by their families but for those whose family members that still care you can drop in to see your loved one just about any time. Phone calls are allowed and the mentally challenged adult has much input into the activities and other decisions, if he is able. The group home situation is particularly beneficial to those who can function somewhat, but not on their own. But, it’s not ideal for those who have hurt themselves or others.
The helpers in the group homes are not nurses but are trained to handle the mentally challenged. They are trained in CPR, nutrition, preventing accidents, and other important matters pertinent to your loved one’s condition. They are also trained for what to do in case the mentally challenged person gets upset, angered or even violent.
For those whose loved one is a danger to himself or others a single household can often be found for him. Round-the-clock shifts of one or two people will take care of your relative. Day shift will provide meals and take the person to work. Afternoon shift will pick your child up from work and take him home for supper. Night shift will make sure your child is safe in his bed all night. Activities are planned and books are kept so that social workers can make sure the person is getting plenty of exercise, proper food, regular prescribed medications and so forth.
Every citizen deserves a job and a home, if at all possible. Your mentally handicapped loved one is no different. If you feel you simply can’t take care of your child by yourself any longer check with your Department of Social Services to find out more. If you would love to work with the mentally challenged to help provide them a better life contact the Social Services or your local Employment Office to see if there are jobs available in this area. You are normally not eligible if you have ever been convicted of a felony, an assault or theft.