The ChangingAging Blogstream is excited to welcome it’s newest member and Blogstream contributor, Sunrise Communities, Inc., a Miami-based nonprofit serving the needs of people with developmental disabilities from Florida to Connecticut. Working with ChangingAging.org’s social media web development team, Sunrise launched a redesigned website and new blog Feb. 1 at www.SunriseGroup.org.
For more than 45 years Sunrise has been on the forefront of advocacy and reforms to improve the lives of people with disabilities, including leading the movement in the 1980s to end the institutionalization of people with intellectual and physical disabilities.
One of the largest private nonprofit service providers in the country for people with disabilities, Sunrise is now blazing new trails by adopting the practices of culture change from long term care to serve the needs of its own growing aging population. Sunrise is currently exploring options to build the nation’s first Green House Project home dedicated to people with developmental and acquired disabilities.
By embracing the use of social media and launching a new blog, Sunrise hopes to provide increased community engagement for self-advocates and activists and provide accurate, best-practice information on developmental and acquired disabilities.
“In many ways, the upgrades are merely an extension of the mission we set for ourselves more than 40 years ago when Sunrise first launched national efforts of community inclusion and joined the fight for the rights of people with disabilities,” said Sunrise President & CEO, Leslie Leech, Jr.
Sunrise is also fighting a fierce battle in Florida and other states to protect services for people with disabilities from being slashed as the state grapples with more than a $2 billion budget shortfall.
The economic downturn of recent years has lead to drastic cuts in state services across the country and, unfortunately, the hardest hit are almost always those with the greatest need and the smallest voice. In Florida, not only have services been drastically cut several years in a row, but the state’s Republican governor and legislature are now considering dramatically altering the core mission of the state’s Agency for Persons With Disabilities (ADP).
Legislation proposed by Republican state Sen. Joe Negron would eliminate many services provided by ADP but more importantly would remove the agency’s core objective to assist individuals with disabilities “to achieve productive lives as close to normal as possible.” Instead, the objective would be to provide only services critical to health, safety and to avoid institutionalization (which unfortunately remains an option in some cases).
Culture change advocates in aging will recognize the parallel in this battle. It is not enough to provide only for the safety and health of those in need of care. It is not for lack of safety or medical care that most people suffer in nursing homes and institutional settings. They suffer because they are lonely, helpless and bored.
No matter your age, no matter your ability, everyone deserves to live a life worth living. ChangingAging is excited to include the voices of Sunrise and other advocates dedicated to improving the lives of people living with disabilities.
About Sunrise Communities
Sunrise Community, Inc. is part of the Sunrise Group. The Sunrise Group is comprised of various, private and not-for-profit corporations with more than 40 years of experience providing services for people with living with mental and physical challenges in locations throughout Florida, and in five other states, including Alabama, Connecticut, Maryland, Tennessee and Virginia. Services, which vary by each location, include adult day programs; supportive living; residential homes; foster care; supported employment; respite care; behavioral analysis and assessment; physical, speech language and occupational therapy; nursing; companion services; in-home training and much more.