Explaining How We Have Gotten Away From "Continuum" Thinking.

Claudia Bolton, President and Executive Director of NorthStar Supported Living Services in California, here discusses the evolution of a service system based on the 'continuum' model to one based on meeting individual support needs.

Claudia Bolton: Back when we were doing independent living and services based on a continuum model, as people changed what they needed, they had to move.

We had transitional living programs and I ran one for a while, in an apartment complex. We taught the person how to cook, how to ride the bus, how to manage their money. Then we'd say well your two years are up. You're doing a great job. You get to move.

And they'd say, well wait a second. This is my neighborhood. This is where I know the bus driver and I know the person in the bank. But that was the idea of transitional living, you know, it was transitional. And so we realized, wow, that was kind of a stupid idea.

And then we said, OK, you have a choice. You can stay here if you want or you can move to someplace else and we no longer called it, it wasn't transitional any longer. I hope I don't offend anyone, these are just things that I learned and that we've learned about.

So the idea with Supported Living is that people don't have to move as their needs change. It's their home. We work with people who are aging, so we're starting to support some people who have medical issues as a result of aging.

Behaviors may change. Medication may change. All kinds of things change. But the individual doesn't have to move, as long as we can continue to support them. 

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