When Is the Right Time to Transition from Your Home to a Group Home?
Transitioning from Your Home to a Group Home and Independent Living for the Developmentally Disabled
To gain some insight on transitioning from one’s own home to group home, we spoke with Sandy and Howard Johnson who have, in recent years, transitioned their son, Matthew, age 35, into a group home. Sandy and Howard are now retired in the Lakeland, Florida, area where they are only 15 minutes away from their son who now lives in The Villages of Noah’s Ark in Central Florida.
When did you feel was the right time to transition from your home to a group home?
We made the decision when we concluded that our son, Matthew, was no longer benefiting from the home setting. It had become clear that he was in need of more control within the scope of his capabilities. In spite of all our efforts, he was not making progress, and he needed new opportunities to develop. We felt he had further potential and deserved a chance to develop it.
How did you decide or explain it to him?
We explained that it was normal for children to live separately from their parents when they grew up, and we reassured him that we would be there to support him and be a part of his life every step of the way.
How did you select the group home?
Unfortunately, there is very little affordable housing available for disabled people. Initially, we utilized a county service for the disabled in Virginia, when we lived there, which provided apartments for those capable of independent living. We moved to Florida and found the situation to be even worse. To be honest, the first two endeavors were very sub-par. Most of the staff was disrespectful, and the organizations offered few services beyond a once a week shopping trip to Walmart. Matthew spent two to four days a week still in our home but was still very interested in “having his own home.”
The Villages At Noah’s Landing
Everything changed when we were blessed to receive an invitation from a friend to accompany her to a meeting at The Villages of Noah’s Ark of Central Florida. It was truly life changing for our entire family. We took Matthew back to Noah’s Ark and took the group tour. Matthew was excited about trying to become a resident. There was an extensive interview process, and lots of paperwork but Matthew was accepted. There was a waiting list at the time, but we were fortunate that it was only a few weeks before Matthew was able to move into his apartment.
The Villages at Noah’s Landing provides apartments for adults with developmental disabilities. They offer 1, 2, 3 and four bedroom apartment units. Each multi-resident unit has a shared kitchen and living room. In addition, a washer and dryer are included in each unit. Each resident has a private bedroom and bathroom as well as a private pantry. Resident advisors are available during the evening hours and whenever the offices on the complex are closed. There is an extensive closed circuit TV security system, and the community itself is gated. Many social activities are provided from bingo and basketball to bowling and acting. There is a clubhouse with a full commercial kitchen where dinner is prepared daily and served to those who desire it. They have outdoor patios and a swimming pool where residents gather to socialize.
All residents must be capable of independent living (** S.C.O.R.E. approach). Many of them require significant external support and prospective residents are carefully screened to ensure that the capacity for independent living will be fulfilled in the setting of The Villages at Noah’s Landing. In many cases, the necessary support is provided through services financed by the state Agency for Disabled Persons (APD). Parents or other people who are committed to the welfare of the resident may also provide this support. The staff at Noah’s Landing provides a caring and emotionally supportive environment in the administration of the facility, but do not assure the external support, which residents may need.
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