Freedom. Plain and Simple.
Sandra is living her best life by partnering with others to live a self-determined life. Self-Determination is a theory of motivation which focuses on individuals having control over their lives and exercising the basic rights of citizenship, freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
A Self-Determined life encourages choice, risk, and responsibility, and is associated with greater independence and improved quality of life.
With Sandra taking the lead, she and her Interdisciplinary Team work together to explore and achieve what’s possible. They proactively partner to develop a plan that encourages dignity, choice and connections, focusing on Sandra’s independence and community involvement.
Sandra uses Self-Directed Supports (SDS) as one option to support living a self-determined life, where:
- Sandra decides who she wants to provide her services and supports.
- Sandra controls how her budget is used for services.
- Sandra is the boss of her caregivers and services; she hires, trains, supervises, and fires
her direct care workers.
What does this look like?
What better way, than to hear from the people living it?
(Sandra) “I do self-directed supports because I’ve had agencies before and they just don’t really fit with what you need. […] So, when they started the self-directed supports program I tried it, and I’ve never gone back.
“My sister who had helped me for several years was burnt out and she just couldn’t [anymore]. She said, “I just can’t. I’m sorry.” and I came home and I was really struggling […].”
(Sandra’s Self-Directed Support Employee) “When Sandra and I were introduced the [Community Resource Coordinator] called me and asked me if I would be willing to interview with [Sandra] and told me what some of her needs were and I said yes. And so, we set up a time, and we interviewed each other; so she asks me questions and then I ask her questions. And then we you know, I’ll tell her what I will and what I do and what I don’t want to do and she’s talking about what her needs are and we you know, decide on how many hours with the [Interdisciplinary Team] what the salary is going to be and you come to all the terms and agreements and then you get hired on. You get to really be part of these peoples’ lives and touch them not just in the medical area but in their personal, psychological and their well-being.”
“Even though some things Sandra can’t do totally, she can still do part of it. And like I said earlier, I’m kind of like her extended hands and feet. So, when we make a meal for her and her husband, she does as much prep as she possibly can and then I do the parts that she can’t do. So, she still has a big role to play in what we do. Not just in the kitchen, but when we do wound care, she tells me you know, if she’s got something new or if she has questions, I can answer. So, she is totally involved in her care and we discuss how she wants things done in every aspect. What shampoo she wants, what ointments she wants, what medications she wants to use – so she runs the show! She gets to decide how she wants to be taken care of, what she wants done and how she wants it done.”
So how does this really all happen?
Well, with the assistance of fiscal agencies. Fiscal agencies help members to easily hire, and employ, caregivers legally by handling the required employer and employee paperwork. This may include time tracking, payroll, tax filing, and insurance concerns. Payments to caregivers are made through the fiscal agency.
(Sandra’s Self-Directed Support Employee) “We submit a timesheet and they send back a paycheck. The fiscal agency takes care of the timecards, writing out the checks, taking out the proper taxes, and I do believe that since there’s so many of us now, I do believe that there’s workers comp available […]. I know a lot of people think we work for the [fiscal agent] but it’s totally separate so they just, they do the checking part and the taxes, which is really nice.”
(Sandra) “Yes, they have been very helpful that way. And they always send me an email telling me, because I email that time sheet to them and they always send me an email making sure I know that they got it. If you have a question, they’re right there. They’re answering and helping.”
*Names are changed to protect identity.