Future Planning – It’s Possible and Necessary
By Guest Blogger Liz Mahar, Program Manager, Individual and Family Support, The Arc
Future planning is important for all families. Yet, thinking about the future can be challenging and emotional. In 2014,The Arc of the United States launched the Center for Future Planning™ to encourage and support adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families as they plan for the future.
There are an estimated 600,000 – 700,000 families in the United States where an adult with I/DD is living with aging family members and there is no plan for the individual’s future. Having a plan is important especially after the parent or caregiver can no longer provide support. The Arc recognized that too many people are facing the next chapter in their lives without a plan and is working to provide help to families and people with disabilities trying to create that roadmap.
The Center’s website provides reliable information and assistance to individuals with I/DD, their family members and friends, staff at chapters of The Arc, and other disability professionals on:
- person-centered planning
- supported decision-making and guardianship
- housing options
- financial planning (including public benefits, special needs trusts, and ABLE accounts)
- employment and daily activities
- making social connections
- providing information if an urgent need arises
In addition, the Center’s website features stories of people and families who have created future plans or who are in the planning process. These stories are meant to provide support to people so they can get ideas about what to include in a plan or in some cases modify an existing plan. The Center also offers webinars to families, individuals with I/DD, staff at chapters of The Arc, and other professionals who support people with I/DD to help them learn about different aspects of the future planning process.
Finally, The Arc recently debuted two new tools to help families plan more effectively. The first new resource is Build Your Plan™ an online tool that enables families to create accounts and begin to build their plans within the Center for Future Planning™. Check out the demonstration webinar to learn more about how to navigate Build Your Plan and encourage families to begin creating plans. The second new resource is the Professional Services Directory, where families can find professionals in their communities to help them create and implement their future plans. If you’re a professional who wants to be listed in the directory, please visit https://futureplanning.thearc.org/pages/join-the-professional-services-directory.
Planning ahead can be difficult, but it’s possible and necessary. You can learn more about the resources and training opportunities the Center for Future Planning™ provides at futureplanning.thearc.org. Please contact The Arc’s national office at (202) 202-617-3268 firstname.lastname@example.org for more help.
About the Guest Blogger
Liz Mahar joined The Arc in 2014 as a program manager on the HealthMeet initiative and The Arc’s Center for Future Planning™. Previously, Liz spent five years as a consultant and Managing Supervisor for FleishmanHillard, managing stakeholder relations for government-funded public health campaigns on topics including binge drinking, drug abuse, and chronic diseases.
In addition to Liz’s expertise in public health and managing partnerships, she brings social policy expertise from five years of working on Capitol Hill. Liz earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She is a native of Southern California and proficient in Spanish. Liz is the sibling of a younger sister with I/DD and hopes that her experience and passion can have an immediate impact on The Arc’s mission of supporting people with I/DD and their families.