Personal Assistance and Social Recreation Coaching– What's the Difference?

Socialization is a key part of who we are as humans. A core pillar of Maslow’s hierarchy of Needs is to be loved …

· 7 min read

Socialization is a key part of who we are as humans. A core pillar of Maslow’s hierarchy of Needs is to be loved and have a sense of belonging.

24 Hour Home Care, an award-winning non-medical in-home care provider, offers two programs that help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities make social connections with their peers and community- Personal Assistance and Social Recreation Coaching. Though the two are very similar, there are differences between personal assistance and social recreation.

What is Personal Assistance?

Personal Assistance is a program that empowers people with disabilities to live independent lives. With Personal Assistance, your loved one is provided with a long-term Direct Service Provider (DSP) to help with tasks that would otherwise be difficult. No two Personal Assistance plans look the same. Each one is tailored to a client’s individual needs. For some, the DSP can help your loved one get ready for the day and assist with essential errands. In other cases, the DSP helps your loved one integrate with their local community through goal-oriented activities like community sports, group classes, and other enrichment activities.

The main objective of Personal Assistance programming is to enhance the overall quality of life for the client and their family. With a DSP, your loved one can receive help with meal prepping, attending day programs, or visiting the library.

For example, Rob is a young adult with Down syndrome who needs extra help with activities for daily living. His parents chose a neighbor friend to be Rob’s DSP. Rob’s DSP arrives every morning and starts by making Rob breakfast and making sure he takes his medication. With help from his DSP, Rob can go to the park and participate in a community art class. The DSP also helps Rob with grocery shopping and chores around the house. Oftentimes, his DSP also helps prepare meals for the week.

What is Social Recreation Coaching?

Social Recreation Coaching provides clients with fun and accessible activities that are linked to physical, social, and emotional well-being. This helps provide clients with a balanced and more fulfilling life. During the 2008 recession, Social Recreation Coaching was put on pause, and only started up again recently.

The program provides social and health equity for people with developmental disabilities by empowering them with guided recreational support. 24 Hour Home Care helps facilitate this service by working directly with a chosen provider and training them to identify appropriate activities based on a client’s interests and goals. The provider then works with the family being served to set and meet benchmarks and goals.

For example, Julie is a 7-year-old with Autism and has a hard time socializing with kids at school and in her neighborhood. She has a special interest in playing soccer. After enrolling in the Social Recreation Coaching program, Julie’s family chose her aunt to be her Social Recreation coach. Julie works one-on-one with her aunt to reach goals like sharing, teamwork, and basic soccer skills. The pair works together for a few hours every day to help Julie meet her goals and eventually join a community soccer team.

When a client first signs on with Social Recreation Coaching, there’s an assessment done. During this initial meeting, 24 Hour Home Care’s Social Recreation team determines a person’s interests and strengths. These interests could be practicing a sport and eventually joining a team, community-based music classes, or anything that helps a client reach their social goals. The Social Recreation Coaching team makes a small series of attainable benchmarks for the person served.

After the goals are set, the Social Recreation Coaching team educates the client, family, and Social Recreation provider on how best to meet those goals and expand the client’s social circle. Goals can be reexamined at any point and changes are made to the plan as needed with the help of a Service Coordinator at your Regional Center.

How Are They Different?

While both programs have similar aims – to help a loved one socially integrate into their community and live a full life – each has a unique method to reach those goals. There are also key differences in the hours and expectations of each program.

Personal Assistance requires a full-time provider. This program helps with daily functioning and socialization, with the primary goal of empowering people with disabilities to live successfully in their home, participate in meaningful activities, and address health and safety needs.

Social Recreation Coaching is a part-time program focused on socialization and community involvement. The person served receives guided recreational support with specific goals they’re supposed to meet. This program is more structured and goal-oriented than Personal Assistance. Social Recreation is also for children and adults. Most people served in a Personal Assistance program are older teenagers and adults.

Who Qualifies for the Programs?

To see if you qualify for either of these programs, get in contact with 24 Hour Home Care. We will check with your local Regional Center Care Coordinator to see if you qualify. You may be required to make a claim that your loved one needs Social Recreation or Personal Assistance as part of their Individualized Program Plan. After the claim is made, families need to wait and see if they are approved for services.

Individuals with Personal Assistance plans can also apply for Social Recreation Coaching. In some cases, a person served can participate in both programs at the same time. Additionally, a single family or person served can choose multiple care providers to cover all the care hours needed.

If you want to learn more about Social Recreation Coaching or are interested in facilitating a discussion with your Service Coordinator, click here to connect with 24 Hour Home Care. Please keep in mind that not all regional centers offer these programs at this time, we’re quickly expanding and hope to be statewide soon.

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