This project will enable the Four Homes of Mercy, a residential center for 65 residents with severe special needs, to create family support groups. These groups will minimize the isolation and devastating impact on the mental health of the other family members, that having a severely impaired loved one creates.
Families with a disabled person experience isolation in different ways: lack of social interaction due to difficulties of working and lacking time or money to do family activities others take for granted; fear of how people will react when they go out with their disabled loved ones; feeling being alone, even when surrounded by people, because no one else shares their experience. This is also more complicated because of current economic and political realities.
Family / Parent support groups are a great way to meet other parents for practical and emotional support. Most support groups are set up and run by parents and care-givers. The Homes will create support groups for our families who come from all over Palestine. The Homes will manage the logistics and organization of the groups for the 1st 9 months, then the participants will self-organize. and reach out to families of special needs outside the Homes. The Support Groups will meet bi-weekly.
The families will get emotional and practical support. They will have access to up-to-date information and training about their loved one's diagnosis or condition They will be helped to think about the next stages of their loved one development and services needed. They will receive training in any needed skills to allow home visits to be more frequent and smoother.