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

valued, and there is a sense that everyone is both listened to and encouraged to speak. Manipulation is kept at a minimum and potentials are put at a maximum.

It sounds like a wonderful place, doesn't it? It sounds like the kind of place we would all like to see our favorite clients involved in, but it is not that easy. Any community takes energy, commitment, and the courage to sustain on days when the vision of what is ahead gets clouded by the challenges of what now exists. I have seen it work, in a few cases. And yet I hold the ideal as one we can all continue to work toward. When it does work, people flourish, tap into new skills, and abound in growth.

I believe that building community is a matter of justice. I wonder how we hope to create world peace if we cannot also choose to become builders of peace in this present moment. I have chosen to engage in the building of community by my lifestyle. I have learned about living in community by assisting clients in learning about living in community. For those of us involved in the social services, understanding community-building can be a very useful tool in helping clients choose to be people who are open and intimate, and who engage in relationships and take the risk of choosing to become alive.


40
WORK AND RETIREMENT

Elizabeth J. DeBrine and Mary C. Howell

In our culture, the ability and opportunity to work for pay is very important to one's self-esteem. This importance of work is no less salient for citizens who are mentally retarded. In fact, because the citizen with mental retardation views the world rather directly and without sophisticated and abstract elaboration, it is likely that for him the value

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