The Independent Living Plan is Working
By Jeff Nunham – Adult In-Home Care Supervisor
Do you remember the action TV series, The A-Team? You probably remember Hannibal, the cool leader of this special team of exceptional “bad guys” doing good. With a wry smile and little stogie, he would say,” I love it when a plan comes together”. I visited a home this week where I witnessed a plan coming together.
The Independent Living Plan in Action
We provide care for three “twenty something” gentlemen with a coordinated Independent Living Plan. They live relatively independently in a duplex together; two on one side of the house and one on the other with the land lord. The house is a rental and has been such for a long time. The walls, furniture and floor have a certain patina on them. It’s obvious that none of the guys are concerned about keeping up appearances. The rooms are sparsely furnished with just the necessities. On the walls of the dining room are several large chalk boards with scheduling information. A care providers name and the day and time of their shift is written in large letters and the person with whom they will be working. This is the communication center. There is a spacious kitchen with a large refrigerator. It has a hasp and padlock on it for diet control. There are usually dishes in the sink and a wastebasket that needs emptying, but what I see is none of this.
Max knew I was coming to see him. He was waiting for me on the front steps. Before I shut off my car, he was calling out my name and walking across the street to meet me. We “high fived” each other and walked together to the house. For a moment, I felt like I had just met my very best friend. Max can make you feel that way.
When we climbed the steps to go into the house, Roger appeared in the door with a huge grin and an abrupt report about the change he was making in his schedule. He announced to me with great pride and joy that his care provider was going to start coming on Sunday so he could go to church. Again, I felt something. His exuberance affirmed my hopes that our efforts were making his life better. In just 48 seconds, I had been given two wonderful gifts.
As we walked into the house, Roger went to his room while Max and I joined his dad and grandfather who were sitting in the living room. WE were about to begin a “meeting” in which we would be discussing Max’s schedule and some of his concerns. I found a spot to sit on a worn and sagging loveseat. Max was sprawling on the floor and periodically interjecting his thoughts and questions about his care providers. “I like Dave and Keegan, when are they coming? When is Jon coming back?“ Max spoke of his staff like they are his family and with great affection. Again, I felt that warm sense of wonder and gratitude that I was seeing what we as a respite care agency strive for every day. Our care providers intentionally do their work by building strong healthy relationships that create a sense of safety and love in the heart of the person they serve.
This is one of our primary values. Every care provider we hire, repeatedly hears me say, “The work we do is based entirely on your relationship with the person you serve.” In just a few moments, I was witness to the success of a plan that we carry out every day of the week. During the course of our meeting, we were visited again by Roger and also, the third man who lives in this home. Through the work of our care providers, the plan to support these adults in living as independently as possible is “coming together” and I love it.