There are many transitions in life. The Ontario Partnership is focused on the transition to older adulthood and the transitions that occur during the aging process. OPADD believes it is better to plan ahead for these transitions so they can be anticipated. Transition planning provides a method to support an individual’s Quality of Life. Without planning, the individual may find him/her self in a crisis situation or circumstances where there is no time to explore a full range of options. Consequently decisions may be made to resolve the crisis rather than to ensure continuing Quality of Life.
Transition planning is a deliberate, dynamic and conscious evolutionary process that supports the individual to embrace life as it presents itself during the aging process. One of the key benefits to transition planning is to be able use the knowledge about the individual’s circumstances and needs, to plan ahead for an appropriate mix of services and programs that supports Quality of Life. Transition planning should operate within the larger context of the individual’s Life Plan.
The Life Plan
The individual’s Life Plan provides the basis for the services and supports provided by members of the support circle. As the person enters older adulthood, the life plan changes to include consideration of emerging issues and needs related to aging. Transition planning is not about replacing the Life Plan but provides a framework for thinking about and adjusting the Life Plan as the person ages.
Person Centred Planning
The person centred approach to planning requires that the individual be the source of information about his/her own life plan. The realization of this principle will be influenced by the person’s capacity to become involved and to make his/her needs known. Where there are limitations of capacity, caregivers must rely more on their personal knowledge of the individual. In all cases, the communications of the client, however they may be expressed, are relied on to inform planning decisions.
Definition of Transition Planning
OPADD developed a definition of Transition Planning to help put all caregivers on the same page in their understanding of the transition planning process. Transition Planning is a planned process that:
- Supports the individual in maintaining Quality of Life as he/she ages
- Allows the individual to be the driving force in shaping the plan and to be involved in all plan-making to the extent of his/her capacity
- Helps the person with developmental disabilities to plan for changes in his/her support needs during the aging process (aging is not necessarily related to a chronological age such as 65)
- May involve changes in how the family provides support or in the amount of support provided
- May include access to day supports for older adults such as Meals on Wheels or a senior’s day program, so the person can remain at home, and / or
- May involve preparing for a move to a new residential setting where more appropriate support can be provided
- Always includes the person with a developmental disability
Moreover transition planning, like life planning may include the many people involved directly and indirectly in the individual’s support, such as:
- The family, guardian or advocate
- Friends of the individual
- Direct care staff of a developmental services agency and/or older adult services agency
- Facilitators and members of support circles
- A case resolution coordinator
- A medical practitioner and / or psychiatrist and / or psychologist
- Coordinating bodies such as the local Community Care Access Centre
- The Ministry of Community and Social Services developmental services coordinated access process
For more information on transition planning you can access these OPADD documents:
- Building a Future Where Aging is OK – Final Report on Transition Planning
- Aging with a Developmental Disability – Transition Guide for Caregivers