veins and leg muscles that causes pronounced ankle edema, may decide that she wants to take to a wheelchair and give up walking. We know that in a matter of just a few weeks she will probably lose her capacity to walk again. Ideally, we would like to be assured that this outcome is explained to her in language she can understand, so she knows what her choices are in dimensions that are real and comprehensible to her. But surely we will all agree that the choice is hers to make; just because we are staff and understand how quickly she will lose her functional ability to walk, and have set goals for ourselves for maintenance of function, does not justify overriding her choice.
Finally, a word about goals. I believe that bureaucracies sometimes challenge goals that are set for "nothing more" than maintenance of status quo. In this, as in many other areas, we are experiencing the effects of being on the forefront of caring for those who are retarded and growing old. Whole new areas of policy need to be set. Maintenance of function (status quo) is not only a reasonable goal for people who are reaching old age, it is also a central and essential goal.
In previous decades, rehabilitation specialists sometimes turned away from working with old people because they could not be returned to full--which is to say, youthful--function. We want to strive to maintain function even if that aspiration is not widely considered an acceptable goal for the individual Habilitation Plan. We want to maintain function because it is life-enhancing as old age approaches.
THE FUNCTION OF RELATIONSHIPS
Mary C. Howell
In order to enter into and sustain relationships with other people, we need certain capabilities. By relationship, I mean a connection or