The role of the
family in the community
etc.) are not
the same as there were 20 or 30 years ago. The
telephone, radio, TV, motorcar, and now the
Internet has changed our world forever. Advances in
health and knowledge in various conditions has meant that people with
high support needs are living longer and healthier today. This group is
becoming larger each year.
Of course these groups should have the same opportunities and rights as
anyone else in the community. I am not advocating that we should lock
them up or anything like that, however, we should provide the most
appropriate care for the person as well as each community that the
person is a part of, where the community has the knowledge, skills
resources to look after their needs. Whether a person is a part of the
community of a service, or a number of communities, the person should
have the same opportunities as others within society.
Australian population will increase by about 22 per cent to more than
between 2008 and 2023 with most increase in the over 65 age group.
total number of
person's who identify themselves as having a disability will increase
about 38 per cent
to around 632,600 by 2023." (DSC
: Disability Future Directions, 03/2010 : P.37)
We talk about the
generation and what they may do with their inherence.
... What will
families be like in the future?
... How will they
the needs of
you and me in 30 or 40 years time?
... Will communities
knowledge, skills and resources to look after
... What will be the
role of a
community in supporting people
with high support needs?
... What will be the
policy and practice in supporting people
with high support needs?
... What will the
(ACTIV, TCCP etc.) be like in 30 or 40 years time?
... Will we depend on
these organisations in the future?
knowledge, skills and resources in providing
for the elderly. The socially accepted thing these days is to place
them in a nursing home while we carry on with more important things.
Other communities also have lost
knowledge, skills and resources to look
after the needs of disadvantaged people and rely on organisations
instead. Today we see a rising population, which is getting older,
being stretched, pressure in existing services is increasing etc. etc.
would not be surprised to see these current service organisations
(ACTIV, TCCP etc.) become the institutions that Wolfensberger and
about in the past (full circle). In fact I really think that it is
already happening today and it's to late.
Maybe it's the
we live in, that we need to
deinstitutionalise, rather that the disadvantaged people that we are
trying to deinstitutionalise. We need to provide valued roles to
families and communities in looking
after the elderly, people with disability and other disadvantaged (poor
and destitute, and other medical conditions) so they have a future.
people that have strong bonds with each other.
each other through bloodlines (brothers,
sisters, nephews, cousins etc.) or some rite of passage or ritual that
recognises the person as a part of the family (marriage, adoption,
into a family etc.). A group of people with
refered to as a family.
defined set of
cultures, behaviours, expectations
members feel a
part of the family
traditional idea of a
family unit, where the members spend time
together, where the elderly are respected and looked after as a part of
the family, where a person with high support needs would be looked
after by the family, where the members are dependent on there own (or
friends) resources are almost gone. When a family could not cope, they
could ask for help from their friends or a local community group such
as a church, school or community service group (Rotary, YMCA, Lions,
Salvos etc.) or the local hospital. The community managed to support
itself. There were no government agencies as we know them today around
Marginalised groups (aged, people with
disability, poor and destitute, ethnic groups etc.) were devalued and still are
always be. However while some practices were seen as cruel, these
families and communities did the best they could with the knowledge,
skills and resources that were available at the time. The aboriginal
culture for example was also regarded as primitive, barbaric and
uncivilised, but we are just beginning to appreciate their way of life.
If you have an honest look at our own society today and what we do to
each other, the aboriginal culture may seem tame in comparison.
The decline of the family and reliance on government support.
When providing the most
care for people with high support
1) The community is not
person is living, but where the
person participates, shares experiences and has valued relationships
2) People with high support needs (severe disability, aged etc.)
will always need support structures as a part of their lives.
3) The amount of participation in a community (living, education,
employment or recreation) is directly related to the skills and
resources of the person, and, the skills and resources of the
community that the person wishes to participate in.
4) Institutions are going to be around in one form or another
whether we like it or not, It is the way that they are used that is the
5) The institutions of a society towards a particular group
determine the way the group participates in society.
6) The institutions of a particular government department,
profession or service define the way the person is supported within
7) Facilities that support people with high support needs do not
need to be the nursing homes or prisons in the
that they are today, but can become warm inviting community places that
offer a range of services to the community, as well as be a part of the
wider community within that society.
8) People with high support needs are a minority group in our
society, and will have the same problems as other minority groups in
being a part of society.