Having a Say in Services That Maintain Independence

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

“I can tell her what I need and what I don't need.”

Solis family three generations
Front row, left to right:  Mary Solis, Brenda Solis
Back row, left to right: Mary’s grandchildren B’lanna Solis, Elena Solis and Adam Hersha.

With those 12 words, Mary Solis succinctly states one of several benefits of the in-home supports that she receives from her daughter, Brenda Solis. Brenda comes in for four hours each week to Mary’s Center City home, does the laundry and any other cleaning that Mary suggests, works with her on bills and other paperwork, and occasionally drives her to the grocery store.

The number of hours of service might be small, but they make a significant difference for Mary. Brenda says Mary “loves to be independent,” but recent challenges with mobility made living independently more difficult. These challenges made it hard for her to go down the stairs to her basement to do laundry, and she was having increasing struggles standing and bending for long periods of time to do chores like vacuuming and other cleaning tasks around the house.

PICS (Partners in Community Supports), a subsidiary of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, helps make it possible for Mary to stay in her house. PICS serves as a provider for individuals who self-direct their services, like Mary, who utilizes Individualized Home Supports (IHS). IHS allows Mary to hire her own caregivers and have a say in what her services are, in addition to setting her own schedule for care. Paid caregivers can include family members, who often know their loved one better than anyone else and are already providing informal, unpaid support to their loved ones.


Tailoring Support to the Individual

It can be sometimes difficult to find someone outside an individual’s family who can work the limited hours and irregular schedule that might best meet the individual’s needs. Before Brenda started working for Mary, there were other people who supported Mary but, for various reasons, weren’t able to continue working for her. Brenda became familiar with PICS while assisting a family who had an older relative who wanted to live at home. That person eventually moved to assisted living, and Brenda’s schedule opened up so she could provide support to her mom.

“Being mom’s support staff gives me a sense of relief,” Brenda says. “I know that Mom’s housework is getting done the way she wants it. I know that eases her mind, too. If I can't get to a particular task one day, I can let her know and take care of it the next time I come around.”

Mary also receives informal, unpaid supports from other family members. Her granddaughters Elena and B’lanna live with her, and they take out recycling and garbage. Brenda’s husband mows the grass in summer and plows snow in colder months. Mary still does some of the housework; she likes to do her dishes and makes sure countertops are clean.

Quinn Bauman, PICS senior service coordinator, reviews Mary’s services periodically to make sure that she is receiving the appropriate supports and the number of hours to meet her needs. Quinn also looks over Mary’s service budget to see if spending is on track and makes sure any paperwork is up to date to prevent any disruptions in Mary’s supports. In addition, Quinn makes sure Brenda receives required training on vulnerable adults, abuse prevention, mandated reporting, and PICS policies and procedures, among other topics.

Like Mary and Brenda, Quinn sees the benefits of Mary’s services. “These supports make it possible for individuals we serve like Mary to stay in the home instead of moving to assisted living or another institutional setting,” Quinn says. “I also think that having her daughter work for her means Mary can be a little bit more straightforward about what she needs and wants, and her daughter is very in tune with her needs.”

Mary once again succinctly sums up what having her daughter there means: “It takes a load off me.”


PICS Makes it Easy to Self-Direct

Individualized Home Supports is known as a traditional waivered service. PICS serves at the licensed service provider for families who choose IHS and handles details like training, hiring paperwork, payroll and reimbursements for expenses.

Learn about the differences between traditional services and other self-directed services, and contact PICS with any questions at 651.967.5060.