The Friday Reflection prompt for today "If I ran the country, what would I do?", makes me think of the thing I fear most about Bil's life.
A Friday reflection on Saturday - why not? Just a day late. So much runs late in Bil's world, my brother in law who is developmentally disabled.
We've been waiting for months for Bil to be approved for a service that will help him develop some skills that may lead to some independence for him, while working one on one with a service provider.
There is another program we were able to get him into, one that is benefiting him, but I live in fear that there will be budget cuts and the program will be discontinued.
If I ran the country, there would be no such thing as budget cuts that leave the most helpless of our citizens without services they and their families depend heavily on. Budgets would be carefully written and managed.
Why this dependence on services paid for by government, you may ask? Shouldn't families take care of their own?
The answer is "yes, but". In many cases, family involvement in a child's life (including when that child is grown), is not enough.
For example, 21 is a magic age in our society - the age that a person becomes, officially, an adult. They can drink alcohol. They gain other rights.
If they are disabled, though, they "age out". They lose services. Their families, who have the tremendous burden of caring for them, lose supports. What if your child has a condition requiring 24 hour supervision, just as one example? Sooner or later, family members burn out. Just think of a person giving care to an elderly or seriously ill person, because many of of have done that. Now think of doing that for the next 50 or 60 years. Could you? Could anyone?
Bil isn't 21. He's in his 50's. And his mother is approaching 90. Bil has siblings, but they (for the most part) are older than Bil. They are aging, too, and are developing health problems. Fortunately, Bil does not require 24 hour attention or assistance. But he needs it daily.
So, this is really today's question:
Wouldn't it benefit society to have safety nets in place for individuals like Bil? Wouldn't it benefit society for people with disabilities to become more independent, to get training in life skills? To have adequate housing? To have good respite programs for their caregivers?
As it is, in many instances, neither the disabled person nor the caregiver can't get a good job. The disabled person's medical overages are inferior - just try finding a dentist who takes Medicaid, just as one example. People like Bil and their families must fight just to get training for everyday tasks that would make them more independent, less dependent on the taxpayer.
If I ran the country, we would find ways for these individuals to develop, to ease the burden on their families, and to save the taxpayer money.
But, I don't run the country. And it is likely I never will. But I still hold out hope for a good future for Bil.
Linking to #FridayReflections.