A group living situation can never replicate the loving care that an individual receives from their family. But through our focus on staff training and creating gentle cultures in each setting, we try. We actively encourage our staff members to understand the history of each person and thereby come to understand their emotional side. We encourage the development of relationships because this is what leads to helping individuals feel safe and affirmed. Ultimately, this is the basis of treatment and achieving personal goals.
It follows therefore, with our adoption of the philosophy of gentle teaching, that once people feel safe and affirmed, they can be affirming of others and now participate more fully. It's not hard to see how this leads a person to greater empowerment and independence. We want to do everything we can to help individuals meet the goals they have set for themselves.
Similar to our Community Living Supports program , the goal of our specialized residential program isn't independence so much as "connectedness." While people are dependent upon needed supports, it's important that individuals become part of the community in which they live so that they become valued neighbors, friends, church members, and club members. We look for ways individuals can become "regulars" so that other community members come to expect their presence and participation and depend on them in various ways. Getting connected to others and events in the community is something we all strive for if you really think about it.
Staffing is provided 24 hours per day year round. Many of our homes are staffed on a rotating shift basis with four to six residents per home. We also offer a "live-in" model where up to three residents live in the community together supported by two staff each working three and a half days per week.
Our specialized residential settings are located throughout West Michigan, and admission is based upon eligibility requirements established in conjunction with the Access Center of each local community mental health agency. For more information, please contact the Access Center in your community.
Many of our homes are accessible to individuals using wheelchairs or other adaptive equipment. Our focus is also geared toward reducing stigma—homes should fit nicely into each community and neighborhood so much so that you shouldn't be able to tell that it's a group home. We are careful to observe community standards for landscaping and lawn care and enhancing curb appeal. The interior of the homes should not look so much like a place of employment but a real home. The gold standard for us is when guests visit or tour a particular home, they look around and say, "Wow, this is so nice, I'd like to live here." That's our goal for each home we develop or manage.
We are currently planning to design and build homes which provide greater accessibility and make greater use of technology in order to enhance the independence of each individual we support.
If you need more information about this program, please complete the form on our contact page, and we will have someone contact you.
Or, if you would like to support our residential development efforts, we would love to share our future plans with you. Please contact Thomas Zmolek at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 644-2434 ext. 648.
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