Your children are always your children. Whether they are four years old or forty, you worry about them and care for them. For parents of children with disabilities, they can be life-long caregivers. Great Bay Services has always been proud to be a part of our members' Circles of Support. In this past year, more than ever, we have seen the overwhelming love and support that our members receive from their parents, families and guardians.
It is important that people also care for the caregivers. Below are some resources that may be valuable:
Caregiver Action Network the nation’s leading family caregiver organization working to improve the quality of life for the more than 90 million Americans who care for loved ones with chronic conditions, disabilities, disease, or the frailties of old age. www.caregiveraction.org
The Family Caregiver Alliance offers strategies and support for your well-being as a caregiver. www.caregiver.org
The Administration for Community Living was created around the fundamental principle that older adults and people of all ages with disabilities should be able to live where they choose, with the people they choose, and with the ability to participate fully in their communities. acl.gov/programs/support-caregivers
We also find that as parents age, we see siblings as the caregivers of adults with disabilities.
The role of a sibling in the life of a person with an intellectual and developmental disability (I/DD) is as complex as it is meaningful. Siblings can be friends, confidants, and caregivers. The Sibling Leadership Network can help. siblingleadership.org
The Arc recognizes that siblings play an important role in the lives of their brother or sister with I/DD. It is crucial that siblings are supported to be the best advocate they can be. To achieve this goal, they must have access to information and resources to help them make informed decisions – whatever their involvement. thearc.org/get-involved/siblings/
And of course at Great Bay Services, we are always here to support you. Many of our staff are themselves parents, siblings and guardians of individuals with disabilities. Being a caregiver is the hardest job. You're not alone.
Shannon Cantara is our Adult Case Management Department Head and agency Transition Specialist. Shannon holds a Master’s degree in Special Education, and worked as a Special Educator in both Maine and New Hampshire for several years prior to a career shift to work with Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Her extensive knowledge of services and supports during the educational years, as well as adulthood, allows her to provide specialized support in assisting families, clients and guardians with a smooth transition through process of working with the Maine Adult Developmental Services Eligibility and application process.