How Residential Living Can Help Adults With Intellectual Disabilities Live An Everyday Life

Contrary to popular belief, adults with intellectual disabilities can live happy, productive, and fulfilling lives. Residential providers can give such adults the independence and dignity that all people deserve, while also providing the medical and behavioral support they need.

If you choose to work in this incredible field, you can give people with disabilities the pride of living with independence. Below is the information you need to decide if this is the right career path for you, and the many ways you will change lives if you choose this line of work.

What is Residential Living?

Before you can decide if working in a residential living setting is right for you, you must understand what it means at Pathways. The term “residential living” can mean many different things to different people. However, for our purposes, we use this term to refer to living arrangements in which up to four individuals with intellectual disabilities live together as roommates.

If the term “residential living” gives you visions of constricting nursing homes, erase that image. Residential living is not like nursing homes or assisted living facilities for the residents — or for the caretakers. The people in these homes can choose to live the life the way they want, while being in a supportive, nurturing environment.

What is the work like?

As a care provider in a residential living environment, you get to practice your profession, while fostering independence and choice for your clients. The care professionals within residential facilities vary based on the needs of the residents.

You may work with several roommates in one home, or go between several homes to meet your clients. You will also work with a dedicated team of professionals to provide the best possible life for residents and each other. Below are some of the ways our residential care professionals help the adults in these homes.


  • Put Safety First: Part of living an everyday life is being as safe as possible in your own home. As a professional in this setting, you can provide medical monitoring and other safety features that allow people with intellectual disabilities to live safely, without feeling like they are on lockdown. Every day, you impact lives through your work.


  • Community Connection: Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of working in a residential setting like this is getting to witness these adults building real, meaningful connections with their roommates and the community at large.Research has shown that connecting to others and having a sense of belonging is fundamental to being human. Our brains – even those with intellectual disabilities – seek connection and community. As a person working in this setting, you get to facilitate this vital and inspiring connection. You may never feel unimportant again.


  • Give Support People Want: Instead of struggling with clients who would rather not have your help, residential care professionals get to work with people who welcome their help. Individuals with disabilities deserve to choose a level of care that makes sense for their lives, which can make everyone happier.

In a survey conducted by Autism Speaks, nearly 75 percent of adults on the Autism spectrum said that they would prefer a few hours per day or more of this support. Having the appropriate level of care allows individuals to get what they need without feeling overwhelmed or patronized. This makes for a better working environment for you, and a better home for your clients.

The result is a fulfilling life for all.

By meeting the basic safety, medical, social, and supportive needs of adults with disabilities, you can fulfill your own needs as well. You may find challenges to overcome and new things to learn, but you will never be short on love and meaning in your life.

If you’re ready to join Pathways and our amazing team of professionals like you, check out our open positions today. 

Pathways of Pennsylvania has been serving communities in Pennsylvania since 1981. Every individual has a right to lead a meaningful and positive life, and we are changing lives, one day at a time. Pathways of Pennsylvania is comprised of four companies: Children’s Behavioral Health, Inc., Pathways Community Services, LLC, Raystown Developmental Services, Inc., and The ReDCo Group, Inc.