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

is a feeling of accomplishment as we compile our bibliography, our statistics, and our papers. It is remarkable that so much has been achieved in so short a time. I am gratified and honored to have been part of such a special Project. I take from this place good memories, good knowledge, and good friends.


72
WHO DO WE BLAME?

Elizabeth J. Debrine

Clients and their caregivers, families, and friends came to the Kennedy Aging Project with a list of problems experienced by the client. These problems may have to do with appropriate housing, day programming, disruptive behaviors, or medical matters. The Interdisciplinary Team tried to discover why the client was no longer cooperating at home or at work, why the client was experiencing loss of skills, or why the client and the services appeared to be mismatched.

After a thorough review of the records, intake data, and staff and client interviews, I found myself searching for the one piece of information that indicated who or what was "responsible" for the client's problems. Who or what was not fulfilling the client's needs?

It's easy to find fault with bureaucratic policies that do not allow for flexibility in housing and day programs, agencies that do not provide adequate staff education and supervision, the general lack of funding, families who reject their aging sibling who is mentally retarded, and a society that has little respect for human service workers. In addition to current events, there are events that occurred decades ago, such as institutions that instilled self-destructive behaviors, parents who rejected an abnormal child and placed her in an institution, and a community that ignored people who were different.

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