Last week in Pittsburgh, Lutheran Services in America held their annual conference. On Tuesday afternoon, the Disability Network of that group sponsored an open forum titled “Long Term Supports and Services,” featuring Dr. Charlie Lakin, director of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.
He gave an important and informative presentation leading to a few probing questions from the group. As important as it was for us to see the data and hear Charlie’s analysis suggesting future trends in funding and residential supports, I was struck by one particular PowerPoint slide. More than anything else that was presented, it cut to the core of what must drive our decision-making.
These statements, call them beliefs, principles or values, can help guide our thinking and our actions, but they are not significant because they narrow our focus.
Rather, they permit us – even challenge us – to take a broader view. In the midst of ever-tightening budgets, statements like these offer us freedom to reexamine our outlook on some pretty fundamental things, e.g., choice and quality.
Funding is most assuredly an important piece of the puzzle most of us face each day; however, money can be limited in its availability without being necessarily limiting to the pursuit of one’s happiness. Options are essential but, let’s face it, nobody’s options are boundless. All of us, regardless of our cognitive or functional abilities, face an array of life options that are defined (one might say ‘limited’) by our income, geography, health, family, the communities in which we reside, and a host of other factors.
Yet somehow, even in the midst of all those ‘limits’, we reach a point we call quality of life. And if we don’t like where we are, we make changes within those limits and find a new place.
I admit it’s not the least bit inspirational, but maybe “Limits are real life” belongs on a list like this. What do you think?
Filed under: Innovation, Professional Development Tagged: | abilities, Charlie Lakin, choice, David Morstad, Disability, Disability Network, Lutheran Services in America, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, quality, services