Friday, May 20, 2011

"Shared home, shared life"

Continuing to look for innovative programs for adults with developmental disabilities, I found the companion model developed by Resources for Human Development (RHD).  RHD is a values driven non-profit that provides services to people with developmental disabilities, the homeless, and persons with mental illness.  In the St. Louis area, RHD-MO provides residential programs and day programs for persons with developmental disabilities.

Their residential program utilizes the companion model, in which the disabled person shares his/her home with a caregiver.  Rather than having an ever-changing staff of shift workers, the person with a disability has a roommate who shares his home and life.

I can easily imagine both Marcus and Tevis benefitting from this arrangement.  Marcus is a very private person who maintains his own routine.  I have always thought he would hate a group home, with its lack of privacy and independence, and the way that clients are expected to participate in group activities not of their own choosing.  But I can see him enjoying the company of a caregiver/roommate who would provide conversation, play video games with him, go on outings with him.  Tevis would also like this type of "care."  He's been in a group home, and now has blossomed living back at home.  He likes to pursue his own interests, especially surfing the net on my laptop.  He loves being able to fix his own breakfast and lunch, go outside whenever he wants, having more real choices.  I'm sure having a roommate/caregiver would fit nicely into his idea of what kind of life he wants.