An Oregon Medicaid Agency Supporting Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

A Typical Day

A Day in the Life of An ARISE Mentors Employee

By Stephen Rex Goode

We hire personal support workers for adults with developmental disabilities who are looking to learn skills and reach new levels of independence. Days with clients are filled with learning, support, and fun. If you are looking for an opportunity to make a difference in the life of some of the greatest people in the world, read on.


You arrive at your customer’s residence. You open the billing application on your phone and start a new session and enter the odometer reading and time.

You knock on the door and are greeted by your customer. We’ll call him John.

Grocery Shopping

You check John’s EBT (Food Stamps) card and see that he has new funds, it being the beginning of the month. With John, you make a list of what food he has on hand and plan a menu and a food list.You won’t always take your customer shopping. Sometimes you might take them to a doctor appointment.

You take him to the grocery store and help him find the items on his list. You keep a running total of the things that go into the cart so that you don’t go over John’s food budget. Because John can’t remember his PIN for his EBT card, you know it. You talk him through the process of sliding the card and tapping on the right places on the machine. When it comes time to enter the PIN, you point out each number so he can do it himself.

You go back to his home and help him take the groceries into his home. You separate the things that need to be refrigerated, frozen, or just in a cupboard and teach him how to tell the difference. You also talk about food safety and point out which things need to go into the refrigerator after they are opened.

Medication Check

You take a look at his medications and see if he is getting low on anything. You try to determine if the meds are being taken correctly and review with John which medicines are taken in the morning, which are taken in the evening, and which are taken both morning and evening, checking to see that John understands the medication schedule.


John gets out the crock pot and sets it on the counter. You watch as he plugs it in. You help him fill it with some of the ingredients you bought off of your menu and shopping list. You help him measure some of the ingredients and monitor him while he chops vegetables. You watch as he turns the crock pot on and sets a timer.


You go over the housework checklist that you’ve previously helped John make and help him decide if he needs to do anything on it. You watch as he does his chores and congratulate him on a good job.


A group of other workers and their clients are going to an arcade to play video games. You help John count his money and make sure he has enough and wants to participate.Sometimes you might go bowling, hiking, or to a musem.

You drive to the arcade and join with others in playing video games. You stick close to John and help him understand the controls and price of the games. Sometimes you play with him, depending on his ability to play on his own. You always keep in mind that whenever possible, you let John show his independence and support him in ways that don’t embarrass him.


After a couple of hours, everyone is getting hungry and the group decides they want to eat at a sandwich shop. You’ve already reviewed with John about whether he wanted to eat out, bring a lunch, or return home for lunch. You are also familiar with his dietary restrictions and food preferences. You drive John there. You help him understand the menu options, the prices, and the nutrition information. He orders his lunch and you help him with social cues and skills as he interacts with others in the group.Sometimes you help him prepare a lunch to take with him.

A Movie

Some of the members of the group are going to see a movie after lunch. After helping John express his preferences about the movie and theater, a group decision is made and John says he is willing to participate. You help him pay for his ticket, purchase a snack, and find the room. While watching the movie, John says that he needs to use the restroom. Because you know that John has a hard time locating the room where the movie is showing on the way back from the restroom, you go with him. You make sure he is being socially appropriate in the restroom and then help him find the right room and his seat.


You drive John home after the movie. As you park, you make note of the odometer reading. You go in with him and check the crock pot. You give him instructions on what to do when the timer buzzes.

You open the billing app on your phone and note the ending time and odometer reading. You write a few sentences describing your day. Then you go to the part of the billing app where you choose from a list the things you did to support John and his progress.

You’ve done well today.

These are only samples of the kinds of things you might do. There are limitless possibilities. The key is that it will be your job to teach your customer how to do things, help them communicate, support them, and keep them safe.


If you think you might like to get paid to spend your days like this, visit here.


Leave a Reply

If your comment is a support question, please post it at the forums.

hindi hd