How to Kill a Person’s Spirit – Post-Sandy

For every day that a person with "special needs" due to a disability is "in the system" - I believe there is a danger that this person will fall deeper into the system.

A primary and core goal should be to prevent that from happening, and to do that by erring on the side of supporting normalcy for the disabled person.

This became clear to me this week when, during our work with upper management of FEMA's Hurricane Sandy response team, a caseworker from Adult Protective Services showed up at the hotel which has provided temporary housing for my Mom since she was displaced from her home in October 2012.

On a day when my Mom's file still appears to make no mention of her disability, and she is still struggling to obtain as much grant assistance to repair her uninhabitable home as others have received to repair their damaged basements, instead of strong assurance that her short-term housing is stable enough for her to stay focused on the financial and construction aspects of the project... instead she now needs to convince some unknown caller of Adult Protective Services that she is competent to care for herself.

What should be a conversation about expedience of equivalent services for the disabled after a disaster has instead devolved into an argument about whether a fiercely independent and competent woman's right to live independently and competently should be taken away - simply because her house got flooded and the administrative hurdles are too high to make quick progress.

I've started writing on my personal blog about my personal experiences watching and helping my disabled Mom during her Hurricane Sandy recovery on Long Island.