Why is self-direction important?

Self-Direction puts the consumer/caregiver in charge of the services they need, the schedule for required personal care support, and payment for services. It creates a sense of independence and dignity that is not possible with agency based services. It leads to much higher satisfaction and lower costs.

“Self-determination is not a program!  It is not business as usual with minor alterations…not another service or program…but a huge transformation in the system of support and services to people with disabilities.  It includes attention to health and to vulnerability, learning and development, the importance of community membership. And adds to them.”  

- Tony Phillips, President, Self-Advocacy Association of New York 

  Photo Courtesy of LeadingAge

Photo Courtesy of LeadingAge


I am retired, an only child, and live alone. My support group is all limited and mostly, my age. It is frightening to realize that in a few years (hopefully longer) I may need some of these adjunct services. With the growing number of seniors in our country, I would hate to think that our great nation is turning our back on those most in need of care and understanding at a time in their lives when they have done their share of supporting others in need.

- B. Van Wicklen from New York

As a medical social worker, I spent huge amounts of time trying to cobble together solutions for people needing care in their homes or in residential care facilities. These needs will only grow, and we need affordable solutions that they can count on.

-  S. Wilce from Arizona

It is important to me and my husband so we can be as independent as we can of our children and proud not having them constantly helping us as we grow older (more mature) as I had to be to my Mother.

-  T.M. Horsley from Illinois

Programs that provide self-directed services

There are many ways an individual can obtain self-direction. For example, if an individual qualifies for Medicaid, often times, they can obtain their services through a self-directed service delivery model. This type of model allows participants and their families the responsibility of managing the services they require to live their day-to-day lives in the manner of their choosing. Self-direction allows individuals to make personal choices and exercise their preferences in how they choose to receive supports.

Resources and tools

The following resource links will direct you to the web sites of the listed organizations: