Ohio Shared Living (OSL) involves support services and personal care services provided to an adult by a caregiver living in the caregiver’s home. OSL services are authorized by the respective county board of DD for people who live with a paid caregiver that delivers at least 20% of their personal care and support services.

Being a caregiver is a full-time commitment. Providers coordinate the support needs outlined in the person’s plan and help facilitate activities chosen by the individual served. These are special relationships that make OSL unique and successful. 

Here is one story...

Carla was working as staff at Whipple Dale Center in 2000. A call came in about a parent of one of the individuals working at the Whipple Dale Center. Dan’s mother had taken ill and been hospitalized. Dan would not be going home as usual but had nowhere to go. Carla contacted the SSA regarding his need for emergency respite and volunteered. She was willing and able to help.

Carla said that when Dan came to her house that day, all he had were the clothes on his back and his shoes which were too small. Her first stop was to get him clothes and shoes that fit. She purchased enough clothes for the weekend as that was his anticipated stay. That first night Carla remembers how fascinated and excited he was by the soap bubbles while she helped him bathe. Dan did not talk for a very long time while he stayed with her. He was uncertain of his surroundings, but he started speaking as he felt more comfortable and safe in Carla’s home.

Close to 3 months went by when Dan’s mother was well enough to return to her home. Carla explained to Dan that he would be able to finally go home. However, it was not what Dan wanted. He wanted to remain at his new home with Carla. As Dan is his own guardian, the SSA agreed that Dan could make his own decisions. He would stay.

Dan’s mother’s health worsened and soon needed a guardian of her own. Dan remained in respite for about a year with Carla due to the lack of waiver funding. The SSA decided Dan needed to find long-term placement.

Carla had been in contact with the rest of Dan’s family, and both parties were trying to do what was best and what needed to be done to honor Dan’s wishes. It was decided that Dan’s cousin’s wife Susan would apply for guardianship. Legal Rights came to meet with Carla and Dan. When they asked Dan what his wishes were, he said, “Go home with her” (Carla).

Dan has fallen in love with Carla and her family. They are out in the country a little and have several dogs and chickens that Dan helps to care for. They have gone on many vacations, Florida every year and Vegas on multiple occasions as Dan loves to play the penny slots. With Carla’s help, Dan has traveled to Michigan, South Carolina, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Cedar Point. They are planning a cruise to Jamaica this year.

Thanks to Carla and her care and compassion, Dan now lives in a stable environment, has his own space and belongings, and has control over his own life.  

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