Serving the Underserved: Caring for People Who Are Both Old and Mentally Retarded: A Handbook for Caregivers

By Mary C. Howell; Deirdre G. Gavin et al. | Go to book overview
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An individual may need an advocate if she is unable to advocate effectively on her own behalf. This may be due to a lack of communication skills, isolation from the needed service channels, or the vulnerability of the individual's position. The majority of clients seen by the Kennedy Aging Project had some need for advocacy services; for a few the need was critical. In practically all cases, therefore, the Team encouraged family members and other caregivers to persevere 28 their advocacy work, and provided many of them with informational materials intended to increase their effectiveness. 29 Clients who needed continuing legal services were referred to the Boston University Legal Aid Clinical Program, various legal services agencies throughout the state, or a half-dozen private attorneys who specialize in issues of importance to individuals with disabilities.


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LEISURE ASSESSMENT

Elizabeth J. DeBrine

The purpose of the leisure assessment is to determine if the individual is using her free time to best advantage. I am concerned about how our clients who are old and mentally retarded spend their evenings, weekends, and holidays. The clients' leisure time should include activities that allow mental and physical challenges, present opportunities to see old friends and meet new people, extend freedom of choice, and allow risk-taking.

A leisure assessment is a therapeutic recreation tool that helps a recreation leader inventory leisure interests and skills and determine how those abilities can be best exercised in the client's own community. The leisure assessment developed in the Kennedy Aging Project had to be flexible enough to reflect the wide variety of the clients' abilities. Our

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