Friday, June 05, 2009

Pondering the assessment of needs…

Shall we?

As some of you know, a bitch is co-guardian of my older autistic brother. He’s in residential care and we’re very lucky that his program is with the same center he received treatment and education from as a youth. Critical to a person’s residential treatment is a series of yearly assessments and one big Person Centered Plan. As guardians, C-Money and this bitch get to participate in all of that…and that participation is beyond illuminating of all the various bits that make up a life.

This past Tuesday we participated in my brother’s Needs Assessment. This is a new thing in Missouri where a representative from the state department of mental health comes to a client’s primary residence and goes through a detailed assessment of all the things that client needs.

Not wants…needs.

Of course there is not guarantee that Missouri will fund all of my brother’s needs…we actually anticipate a serious reduction in funding, which is some of the drama that’s been weighing on a bitch’s soul. But there is power in documenting how things should be even as we prepare for how things will be.

During the Needs Assessment, the State Coordinator of Assessing Needed Things asked about my brother’s emotional and physical needs…everything from time with family and friends to nutrition to support and assistance required. My brother was able to participate as much as he wanted…which wasn’t much, since he was busy lobbying for French fries and soda pop (his favorites), but I really liked the fact that he had the option to be involved.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the needs assessing experience. I have long marveled at my brother’s Person Centered Plan…a single document that represents his life…and wondered if I could do one for myself. Oh, I have lots of plans…but I never seem to combine them all into one central location. After witnessing the planning process with my brother I know that a lot of unrealistic stuff gets revealed when plans are combined,

Now I’m pondering the possibility of assessing my needs.

Think about it for a moment…an assessment of your emotional, physical and financial needs and whether they are being met.

Does my work fulfill me emotionally…am I physically able to do it…does it provide me with the funds I need to survive?

How often do I need to be with family and friends…how often am I? How often do I need down time…how often do I take it? What are my nutritional needs…are they being met (wince and remind self that sometimes foods are to be eaten some of the time, not daily)?

Who couldn’t use that kind of break down of all things you?

Too often I find myself moving from situation to situation…from action to action…from struggle to struggle. I find myself getting burned out and then avoiding any analysis of how that shit happened…because I want I avoid any discussion of what I need for fear that it won’t jive with what I want.

But it is that avoidance that gets in the way of getting to what I want. I’m tired, because I haven’t been taking care of myself. I’m stressed out, because I say yes when I should say no.

All of that sure as shit doesn’t add up to a body that will be able to continue the struggle or do a good job at it.

What it does add up to is a person who is anything but centered getting fed up, burned out and too frazzled to function.

And a bitch doesn’t require a three hour meeting to know that that’s not what I want or need.



Anonymous said...

This is a really great post. I'm going to have to go do some deep thinking now....

tata said...

A zillion years ago, an accountant told me to buy a drugstore ledger and write down every dime I spent for a year. At first, it was truly a drag, then it became puzzle pieces I fit together, and it was fascinating. To my surprise, it told me a great deal about my life as well. I've been thinking about doing it again for a year, but after your post, I definitely will.

Thanks for the inspiration!

AOB said...

Personal needs assessment...something I had never thought of...putting it all on paper and making a plan to make it happen. As usual, you never fail to energize the rest of us along with yourself.

Jen said...

Damn. Right on. Every weekend I tell myself, "This is the weekend you fix your life." Every Monday, I'm pissed that I didn't because I was too tired or too scared to do the sort of work that needed to be done. Not anymore, thanks to you - I think you're right to start thinking about life from what (I see) as a social work-esque pov, and doing that needs assessment. It makes it a bit more abstract and easier to tackle.

Anonymous said...

that is a mind-blowing train of thought. i'm so glad you posted it.

i have some planning and ruminating to do i think.

L.Jackson said...

You are too funny...and gonna drive yourself nuts! Been there, done that..honey, it doesn't get any easier as u age..if we had the ability to totally control our lives it would be beyond boring! Grin, blame the bitch that bit the

David Duff said...

Personally - and one can only speak personally on this sort of subject - I am not too sure that time spent analysing one's self is time well spent. I cannot recall ever taking any seriously thought-out decision in my long-ish life. Certain cross-roads were reached, the mental equivalent of holding up a wet finger took place, and a conclusion was not so much made as stumbled into. Happily, by and large, and without the benefit of any grand design on my part, it has all worked out more or less well. Of course, that means I haven't been tested, but I like to think that if matters had taken a turn for the worse I would at least have tried to follow Kipling's injunction:

"If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same

Good poet, that Kipling!

'Drea said...

Nice post.

One of my former colleagues was an art therapist and when I told her that my car cd player was on the fritz and that I was soon taking it to see what was the matter because I needed my music; she said "what dedication to self-care."

Her comment, years later, still resonates with me. All of that to say, yes, you have to take care of yourself or you won't be of any use to anybody else or to any cause.

Infuriated Faggot said...

Right on! I've been running around the house for two months frustrated as hell and wondering "why." It couldn't be that I work forty hours a week killing animals, 30-40 hours a week with my band, and throw all of my extra time into organizing/Presiding over my non-profit foundation. Not until last nite did I realize that I need to just sit in silence...get my shit together and figure out how to do all of the things I need to do to be happy without making myself a hot, frustrated mess.

You'd think at 30 I'd have some of this shit figured out?!?!


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