“Moving Day Can Be Moving”
Jarry and Andy, two guys who went to Special Education classes, found their way into the Mid Nebraska Individual Services program as soon as they left school. Both fellows lived at home with their parents but when they left the classroom they qualified for workshop and housing benefits. The two were already well acquainted from their school days and were close to the same age, so they made good housemates. Staff looked after them during the hours they were not involved in sheltered workshop activities, ensuring all their needs were met and they were well cared for, living in a comfortable home on a lovely tree lined street.
Jarry managed to find work in a warehouse and if it had not been for a health condition, he may have been gainfully employed like any other high school graduate.
Andy, on the other hand, exhibited some behavioral issues that precluded private employment. Instead, he shone in the workshop by folding mechanics’ towels, counting the bundles and stacking them.
Both boys matured and learned life skills as their abilities allowed.
It was shocking for them and their families to learn that the owner of the house they rented was going to move back and wanted her house for her own living arrangements. It did not take long, though, before arrangements were made for the guys to live in a newly erected apartment building and they acquired a third housemate, Ron, who shared expenses in the new place.
Moving was exciting for the boys then because each would have shiny new living quarters, the same familiar staff, and new furniture! The parents heaved and hauled all the boys’ belongings to the new digs and helped them get settled.
Change is very difficult for anyone. For people with disabilities it can be traumatic. Ron worries that he will never see his Elvis posters and that he might get lost, Andy is sure he will never be able to find his miniature windmills and obsesses about where the calendar will hang. Jarry just wants to know all about the closets and make certain he’ll have enough room for his Nebraska Cornhusker collection. Change requires a great deal of reassurance and routine!
More than a decade has passed since that major event. The apartment complex no longer allows patio grills, Andy cannot play his drums without disturbing the neighbors, and the management is not willing to make needed repairs to their apartment. It has been decided that more suitable living arrangements can be made by moving the fellows into a six-plex complex near the downtown area. All their needs will be accommodated beautifully in comfortable, affordable surroundings. They will retain their loving staff, the Elvis posters, the windmills and calendars. And Jarry’s room has enough storage for his growing collection of ‘Go Big Red!’ items!
But the very best feature of all? Moms and Dads won’t have to do the heavy lifting this time. Professional movers have been called!
Fear of loss figures into any move for anyone. As a move takes place, we risk losing the familiarity of our routine, the comfort of known surroundings. We may have difficulty remembering where the light switches are placed! We may be concerned that we can find our belongings when we arrive at the new location. This houseful of guys is no different in that respect; their fears may just be amplified and they will no doubt need large doses of reassurance and routine until the new place becomes old hat. They are most fortunate, as are the families, to know that Staff has everything under control and all will be well.
Moving may be a moving experience but it can also be a great adventure! Andy, Jarry and Ron will eagerly and cheerfully share their photo books to prove that point!
Connie Baum-guest blogger
I heard about a news item recently, it discussed an alleged criminal conduct case that is being investigated regarding some staff members of a residential home for the disabled. The news report was talking about how the staff was alledgedly “bored” and encouraged/forced some of the residents to fight one another. If that is true that they did this, then, that is not a fight club…it is abuse and neglect, and failure to protect. There is supposed to be a video that was allegedly proves some of these accusations.
This, if proven to be accurate, is a criminal offense and charges will be forthcoming; hopefully, it will show those who were responsible for such actions against the disabled residents. According to the news report, the residents did not want to fight one another…the small numer of staff are being accused of chasing some of the residents down the hallway and forcing them to fight one another. Investigations take time, so it is important to not assume anything, just yet, regarding those rumored to be associated with this case. However, residents deserve to be treated with respect and dignity; they should feel safe at all times.
These accusations, if they are proven true, are frightening to those of us who have disabled loved ones. It is not easy to make the decision to place a loved one in a facility. Once that decision is made, trust is a big factor in allowing yourself to have peaceful moments. Most families do research, on available residences for the disabled; but, ultimately you have to go with your gut and trust that things are on the up and up…and that your loved one is safe. You hope and pray that you are never proven wrong about trusting a facility and making a decision for placement. Still, staff members come and go…I think it is wise to remember to follow up with periodic drop in visits…and, have conversations with your loved one, when it is possible, about the day-to-day operations in the place.
No one can or will take care of your loved one exactly like you do. However, it comes down to some basic safety & caregiving facts. Are the staff & residents carefully screened with criminal background checks? Are there seperate secure residential rooms for those who have been violent in the past? What precautions are taken to ensure physical and sexual safety for the residents? Are they properly trained and geared towards delivering care with sensitivity? Are there any complaints on file about the facility? Is there enough staff on duty, at all times, to ensure that things are done correctly and safely? Do they have an open door policy for family members? What are the proper procedures for complaints, if an issue or question should come about regarding your loved one? Are other residents screened for previous physical, and or, sexual abuse? Are there cameras in the hallways? Are there phones available for the resident’s use? How does the staff interact with the residents? Does your loved one ever express concern or fear about living in the facility?
I dont know about you…but, when i hear about stories of abuse or neglect in homes or residential placements for the disabled it makes me angry. The disabled are one of the most vulnerable segments of our population and they should not have to be put through these kinds of situations. There are some really great places for the disabled to live and when reports come out about the places that have exploited the disabled or endangered them; it is discouraging. Have you ever had to place a loved one in a facility? Do you have any words of advice to share with the readers on these issues?