The process of adult children leaving the family home can be difficult, and even more so when the adult child has a disability. In addition to the mixed emotions that often appear during this transition, parents or caregivers of a young adult with disabilities often have additional concerns about independence, responsibilities of daily living, safety, and connection.
As a young person with disabilities transitions to adulthood, there are a variety of supported living options depending on individual need. Options are provided by the Alberta government, non-profit organizations, and health and social services. To access these services, 211 is a confidential phone number that connects callers to the services they are looking for. Similarly, www.informalberta.ca is an online search tool that provides results based on keywords.
As outlined by Alberta Health Services, four groups could benefit from supported living:
1. Low-Cost Housing
Low-cost housing options are available for individuals who can live on their own without support but have limited income. Calgary is partnered with over 60 affordable housing organizations. The Alberta government updates the income threshold each year on their website, which is the primary criteria to determine eligibility.
Alberta Government: https://www.alberta.ca/affordable-housing-programs.aspx#how
The City of Calgary: https://www.calgary.ca/cs/olsh/affordable-housing/affordable-housing.html
2. Accessible Housing
Accessible housing refers to homes that are designed to meet the needs of individuals with physical limitations. These homes are generally lower cost and can range from long-term residencies to shorter-term placements. There are also non-profit organizations that will make the home an individual is already living in more accessible.
Accessible Housing: https://accessiblehousing.ca/
Alberta Health Services: https://www.alberta.ca/affordable-housing-programs.aspx
Residential Access Modification Program (RAMP): http://www.humanservices.alberta.ca/disability-services/residential-access-modification-program.html
3. Independent Living, Supported Independent Living, and Supportive Roommates
These options are available to support young adults who may have physical or cognitive challenges but wish to live more independently. Supports include reduced finances due to cost-sharing, emotional support, assistance with personal or medical care, and the facilitation of daily life skills such as budgeting, meal planning, and chores.
There are a variety of agencies available to meet the specific needs of the young adult, including 24/7 support workers, supportive roommates who assist individuals in living independently, employment, community and recreational support, and respite support for a family who may still be supporting a young adult at home.
Alberta Health Services: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/cc/Page15490.aspx
Calgary Progressive Lifestyles Foundation: http://www.cplf.ca/
Calgary Society for Persons with Disabilities: http://www.cspd.ab.ca/
Community Living Alternative Services: http://www.c-l-a-s.ca/
4. Group Homes or Overnight Staffed Homes/Residences
Group homes and other staffed residences are available to support young adults who are unable to live independently and are no longer able to live at home. Group homes tend to have a high support worker to client ratio, and the number of residents is kept relatively low to provide high-quality support.
Alberta Health Services: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/y2a/Page16532.aspx
Excel Society: http://www.excelsociety.org/
L’Arche Calgary: http://www.larchecalgary.org/
New Age Services: https://newageservices.ca/
Alberta Health Services, Moving Out: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/y2a/page16538.aspx
Alberta Disability Services Office Locations: https://www.alberta.ca/pdd-disability-services-office-locations.aspx
Family and Community Resource Centre: http://fcrc.albertahealthservices.ca/transition/resources/list/print/?c=housing-resources&t=supported-living-group-homes-or-overnight-staffed-residences
Developmental Disabilities Resource Centre of Calgary: http://www.ddrc.ca/
Alberta Income Thresholds: https://open.alberta.ca/publications/income-thresholds
Alberta Council of Disability Services. (n.d.). Support. Retrieved April 11, 2021 from https://acds.ca/workforce/cds-alberta/support-types.html
Alberta Government. (n.d.). https://www.alberta.ca/index.aspx
Alberta Health Services. (n.d.). Well on your way: Helping youth transition to adult healthcare. Retrieved April 11, 2021 from https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/y2a/page16538.aspx