Resident Personal Expenses

Our regional ombudsman asked if we would circulate a petition here which favors an increase in the personal expense monthly allocation that SSI residents receive. The increase that we have heard stands a good chance of passing and would raise the amount from $30 to $60 a month. Residents on SSI were very much in favor of it and eagerly signed it.

A raise in personal expense funds each month for residents would be great. But what about the residents who receive no funds monthly? There are also family members who will not allow their loved one’s personal expense money to be spent for anything. Recently a concerned resident told me that her roommate had no socks. I wondered why the Santa Claus gift exchange had not brought her some. But with so many residents, it might have been forgotten. This particular resident receives no funds monthly and has no family to assist her.

I decided to pick up socks for her while on a shopping trip several weeks ago. I found a deal—six pairs for $5. I felt better knowing she had soft socks to wear. But I wonder what will happen to her and others if they run out of necessities.

I know that providing for some residents is left to the kindness of the facility or its employees. I have suggested that clothing in lost and found here could provide for some residents in need, and secondhand stores have affordable clothing for others.

In the past couple of years, costs have definitely gone up and if there is no family help with clothing and other necessary expenses then the resident will do without.

More resident families are purchasing incontinence supplies. Some want their resident to wear pull-ups and if they are not provided by the facility, some families purchase them. I know this additional expense can get quite hefty each month. Some family members also buy wipes so their resident is assured a continual supply.

I know it has to be tougher for the facility to make ends meet during the present economy. I am buying more supplies myself which is becoming more difficult to do.

It would be helpful if staff would conserve on facility and resident supplies. Though some younger staff may not have been taught this, it is never too late to learn. Most of us have gotten used to conveniences and some of us have had an endless supply of whatever we needed.

I have had to learn to modify my lifestyle over time. Though I get most of what I need, I live on a budget and conserve as much as I can. I do think most of us who live in facilities develop a hoarding mentality because we are not able to get out to get what we want. Some of us are lucky enough to have family members who help us with our necessary and sometimes our frivolous expenses. We know if we want to go on an activities outing we need to have the money to do it.

I know residents here on SSI need more personal expense money. Though environments are changing, there is still not enough to keep residents engaged and content. Going out for lunch or buying their own things at an affordable store gives them a sense of empowerment and independence. Outings also help residents build physical tolerance and maintain their adaptability. More funding would assist them to have a better quality of life.

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