Life Planning is a coordinated and life long process of determining who a person with disabilities is,
what supports they need and how to access, use and structure personal, government, and family resources
to lead as happy, independent and productive life, as possible.
People with developmental disabilities, mental illness, brain injuries, serious physcial disabilities and seniors with disabilties, along with the families and organizations supporting them have the greatest need for life planning.
The first step in developing a support system for people with disabilites is to create an information profile of the person that can be easily shared with people trying to support the person with disabilities.
People with significant disabilities need extensive supports that begin when the disability is diagnosed and often last a lifetime. Some disabilities begin at birth, while others are a result of an injury or illness later in life. As awareness of the needs of people with disabilities has increased society has significantly expanded the supports provided to people with disabilities.
However, unlike the education system, there are non-uniform eligibility requirements when accessing the Social Service system. The person with disabilities and their families must be aware of, apply and be approved for each specific service, inorder to secure the maximum supports. In addition, government can only do so much, and in an era of diminishing government resources, it is critical, that families effectively supplement the services of government with personal and family supports to insure their loved one has the resources to live a happy and productive life.
To effectively access government services and to supplement these services with family resources requires knowledge and planning. We have identified eight important lifetime planning areas that people with disabilities and their families need to address:
- Care Planning
- Education Planning
- Transition Planning
- Employment, or Day Activity Planning
- Accessing Government Services
- Family Financial Planning
- Family Legal Planning
- Future Housing Planning