If you’re currently in the process of trying to determine which residential support option is best for you, you’re probably wondering where on earth to start. You’re not alone. It’s a significant decision that takes a thoughtful and strategic approach. In this guide, we’ll take you through some key considerations that go into making an informed choice. 

Assess Your Needs  

Everyone has their own unique strengths, preferences, and things they might need help with. Before exploring options, it’s crucial to understand your needs, abilities and goals. Here’s some questions to ask yourself: 

● How independent am I? Can I live on my own with some help, or would it be beneficial to have access to support 24 hours a day?  

● What kind of environment do I thrive in? 

● What type of medical care or extra supports do I need?   

● How do I like to socialize? Do I like being part of a group or doing things on my own?  

● What am I hoping to accomplish, and how is where I live going to help?  

● What support am I eligible for? Do I have an HCBS waiver? If so, what kind, and what’s covered under it?  

● What activities do I like? What hobbies do I have?  

The right residential support will help you get where you want to go. Asking yourself these questions will narrow down what kind of living arrangement will best align with your needs.  

Explore Your Options 

Finding the ideal support means figuring out what arrangement fits you best. It’s not just about accommodation – it’s about an environment that helps foster independence and personal growth. Each option brings something different to the table. Some common choices include: 

Individualized Support: If independence is a priority, this option may suit you. It offers help with things like household chores, budgeting your money and personal care in the comfort of your own home. In addition to in-person visits, technology is innovating care. Through assistive technology like screen readers or helpful electronic devices, and remote supports like live video feeds or motion sensing systems, care is becoming more personalized to suit each person’s needs. 

Shared Living: Some people prefer more continuous care. Shared living matches you with a welcoming host who opens their home to provide support and create opportunities to build social connections through their network and community. Each shared living arrangement is a unique match between a person’s interests and support needs and a provider’s lifestyle, experience, and skills. This can vary from a roommate-style arrangement to something more structured. It all depends on your needs. 

Staffed Residence: A staffed residence will offer you round-the-clock support in a communal setting. Trained employees assist with daily tasks like personal care and medication management while fostering independence. Residents have individualized care plans and opportunities for community engagement, like fun activities with their housemates. 

Understanding each option will help you decide which one fits your needs and will support you best.  

Do Your Research 

Navigating the choice for the perfect residence involves finding the right organization or facility to partner with. Knowing what to look for can go a long way. Start by doing your homework – gather information from brochures, pamphlets and websites to get a basic understanding of what’s offered. Taking the time to visit a potential choice in person is invaluable. When evaluating your options, here are some key considerations to keep in mind: 

Employee Training and Qualifications: The quality of support hinges on the qualifications and expertise of the employees. Ensure they possess the necessary experience and skills to meet your needs with compassion and professionalism by inquiring about their training protocol. 

Safety and Accessibility: When you’re on the hunt for the perfect place, don’t just focus on the fancy stuff – think about what really matters: accessibility and safety. Make sure they have what you need, like ramps or Hoyer lifts. Dive into safety measures too, like how many staff are around or what they do during emergencies.  

Your Role in the Residence: It’s crucial to have a crystal-clear understanding of what’s expected on your end. Break down the responsibilities on your plate, whether managing medications or handling finances, and understand what aspects will be taken care of on your behalf. By clarifying these expectations, you not only pave the way for a smoother experience but also set the stage for a collaborative and supportive environment tailored to your needs. 

Community and Social Activities: Social engagement is integral to a fulfilling life. Explore the range of community activities and social opportunities offered. Inquire about assistance in finding volunteer or paid job opportunities, as employment can help build self-confidence and valuable skills. 

Housemate Demographics: Given the communal nature of staffed residences, knowing the demographics in particular facilities can go a long way to making a good fit. Are the other residents around the same age as you? Do they share similar interests and lifestyle preferences? These kinds of questions are important to make sure you relate to those around you and that the community is one you’d like to be a part of. 

Choosing the right living arrangement is a significant decision that requires careful consideration. Remember that the choice you make should empower you to thrive. Don’t rush the process. Take your time, do your research, and discuss with people you trust. You want to feel confident in your decision, knowing it aligns with what truly matters to you. 


How to Choose the Right Residential Support For You