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With Stressors Increasing During the Holiday Season, Gompers Helps Families Care for Children and Adults with Special Needs 

PHOENIX – Nov. 7, 2019 – The pressures on today’s parents are considerable, from providing a safe and stable home to managing school demands and extracurricular schedules. For parents whose children have special needs, the load is even greater.

The U.S Census Bureau and Center for Disease Control both report that one in five Americans lives with a disability. For those with limited physical, mental or cognitive abilities, special care such as toileting, bathing, eating, dressing and mobility is often needed. 

With the approach of the holiday season – and an increase in demands on their time and finances – the burden on caregivers can become unbearable. 

Gompers, a Phoenix-based nonprofit organization serving people with disabilities, provides an array of in-home services that ease the strain on caregivers while fostering independence in children and adults. These services, funded through Arizona’s Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), are available at no cost to families who meet eligibility criteria. 

“Taking care of a special-needs child is mentally, physically and emotionally taxing,” said Juan Angulo, in-home services director for Gompers. “Even when they’re not providing hands-on care, they’re managing medical appointments, health insurance, their child’s education and a multitude of other details. The holidays can become the breaking point for parents and other caregivers who are already stretched too thin.”

Maryvale resident Jannette Greer is the grandmother and primary caregiver of 11-year-old Aaron, who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder as a young child. Before receiving support services from Gompers, she experienced this stress first-hand.

“It was such a challenge,” she said. “I spent so much time caring for Aaron that I had nothing left at the end of the day. I was exhausted, but I was committed to giving him everything he needed. The holidays were always a high point of stress because I just didn’t have extra time.”

Greer was referred to Gompers in 2017 for in-home services for her grandson. The Greers were matched with Armenda Chambers, an in-home service provider who works with Aaron on a near-daily basis to develop life skills while also offering attendant and respite care that benefits the entire family.

“She is excellent with him,” said Greer. “The work she is doing with Aaron is helping him to be more independent. He has learned how to shower by himself and to make an after-school snack. These things have made a huge difference in our quality of life. More than that, they have fun together. She has become part of our family. Having Armenda in our lives has been an awesome thing.”

“Armenda and our other providers allow parents and guardians to catch their breath and to focus more on being a family member rather than a caregiver, “added Angulo.

Gompers’ in-home services for children and adults include:
  • Habilitation: Providers teach daily living skills that enable people to become more independent. For example, they help people learn to clean their rooms, brush their teeth, get dressed, count money, and numerous other skills. 
  • Respite: This includes short-term care to give the parent or guardian reprieve from the considerable responsibilities of caregiving. Respite can be provided at the home or in the community, and may include activities like going to the mall, park, movies or bowling.
  • Attendant Care: Providers can help with non-medical, personal care assistance including meal preparation, light cleaning, grooming, mobility, laundry and shopping.

“Many caregivers of children and adults with special needs have outside jobs. Having a provider like Armenda who can come in the mornings and help them get ready for the day can make all the difference in the world,” said Angulo.

For more information about Gompers’ in-home services, visit gompers.org. To learn about eligibility through DDD, visit https://des.az.gov/services/disabilities/developmental-disabilities.

About Gompers

For over 70 years, Gompers has served people with disabilities in the Phoenix metro area with a holistic focus on the needs of the individual. As a core value, Gompers recognizes and celebrates that each person brings a unique set of abilities, skill sets and potential to our organization. The result is that Gompers’ daily environment is rich with insight, humor, humility, compassion and genuine caring about the needs of others.