Building a Perpetual Motion Machine

Retirement and estate planning when you are a family with a child with special needs is a little different.  Our friend Frank described it really well.  Frank said that it isn’t just about figuring out how to not run out of money during your life.  When you have one of these kiddos, you have to figure out how to build a perpetual motion machine that will function for as long as it needs to after you’re gone and provide for, protect and care for your child.

How much that might take financially is really a huge unknown, and is also probably a pretty large number.  And, if you move beyond the finances you have to have people involved who would have the concern and follow-up that you yourself would have if you could be around for your child’s whole life.

That second part is what we’re building now at Ridgeview.  We have a structure to work through the financial issues that doesn’t rely on government or other programs.   It’s about the best shot at a financial perpetual motion machine that we can come up with.  Even that relies on having skilled and caring people making decisions to keep it moving.

That’s where the tribe comes in.  We are currently spending all the time we can with the other families who are serious about Ridgeview.  When our kids move in, which should begin in 2019, they will already be good friends with lots of great shared experiences.  I know my son is getting excited about it.

As part of that, the group of parents and the families involved are also becoming good friends.  This is a project that will span generations, so we are taking the opportunities as they come to all get to know and be comfortable that we have similar visions of what we want to see happen at Ridgeview.  We are, after all, the team tasked to make it happen.  That team, as we spend time at it, really becomes a tribe when it come to our kids at Ridgeview.   The siblings and other extended family of the residents will probably be involved at some point so it is great if they’re not strangers and best if they’re friends.

Already this tribe building is working to expand the horizons of our kids as they get together and we do things socially they wouldn’t have done on their own.  Recently, we’ve toured the Rocky Reach dam, ridden go-karts, gone bowling a few times and visited the Hydroplane museum.  And, we’re getting some folks together for the unique way the town of Chelan celebrates Halloween.

It takes time to build a tribe, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a good time!  A strong tribe is a big part of the perpetual motion machine we are putting together.  If it sounds like fun, we do still have at least one spot open….



It is called a “Shared Living Solution”

Back when we started working on Ridgeview Place, there wasn’t a term that was in use in the industry serving adults with developmental disabilities to describe the type of living situation we were creating.  Now, there is a term.  “Shared Living” or “Shared Living Solutions” is the term used to describe how Ridgeview Place works.

It is where a group of individuals live together, and either own or pay rent on, their home.  The arrangement usually involves a total of 2 to 4 people.  They may receive instruction and support delivered by contracted service providers. Individuals pay their own rent, food, and other personal expenses.  This is a different type of arrangement than a group home or adult home.  You can see the way DSHS categorizes things here.

There can be significant advantages for Shared Living arrangements.  Partners4Housing ( is working to help create Shared Living arrangements in the Puget Sound area and has an assessment and roommate matching tool as part of their process to getting successful Shared Living homes operating.

Ridgeview Chelan is not as far outside of the mainstream as it was when we started.  Shared Living arrangements can have lots of advantages.  When coupled with the Social Entrepreneurship of Ridgeview Place, most all of the concerns about creating an integrated, sustainable and stable home for adults with disabilities are addressed.