Bell log: Staying at Home Means More Time for Skill Building

The idea of staying inside at home all the time somewhat defeats the purpose of community living programs designed to help individuals actively integrate into the communities where they live. In Bell’s intellectual disabilities residential services (IDRS) program, individuals rely on the day-to-day socialization of visits to the grocery store, library, or sheltered workshop, as well as enjoying free concerts and other community activities, to help build skills that empower each resident to live their life as independently as possible within the structure of the program.

During the current isolation situation, IDRS direct care professionals are continuing to provide consistent, quality service and using the additional time indoors to help residents (typically two to four people per house) to build their daily living skills.

Bell’s outreach coordinator, Janel Fox, reached out to ID leadership teams and each of the houses,  to see how everyone was holding up.

Janel’s report – April 13: Good news from the IDD front all around! Director of IDD Services, Theresa Frankin, reports that Residential staff remains consistent and positive, and continues to provide quality services to the individuals who are currently in our care.

The individuals receiving care in residential programs continue to remain upbeat, working on arts and crafts activities and other leisure projects, like coloring, drawing, painting, watching TV/movies, exercising indoors as able, going for neighborhood walks (or at least sitting outside for fresh air and sunshine), and enjoying an occasional outing to a drive-thru restaurant.

Apparently, everyone was able to enjoy a nice Easter dinner – some with the traditional ham and all the fixins’- while others treated themselves to a delivered pizza treat!

Janel’s report:  As of April 1, I have spoken with staff from all 14 group homes in the ID program. Without exception, spirits are high and all homes are sufficiently staffed and have plenty of food, medications and any other supplies necessitated by the current situation. 

The individuals are participating in various activities, both in-house and outdoors when weather permits. Depending on levels of functioning, individuals are assisting with indoor activities such as helping with snack and food preparation, laundry, working on craft projects, reading, playing games, coloring, putting puzzles together, listening to the radio, watching TV and/or movies, etc. 

When weather permits, individuals go outside to retrieve the mail, go for a neighborhood walk, sit on porches or patios, or enjoy 1:1 car rides with staff to pick up a Slushee or other treat at a drive-through restaurant. If an individual is unable to go outside for exercise, workout DVDs are offered to maintain movement.   

An outside service was in to professionally sanitize all the homes last week and staff continues to practice recommended sanitary measures, disinfecting all areas two times daily, and  insuring that hand-washing and other hygiene measures are taken by both individuals and themselves.   

Those individuals who attend day and/or evening programs are expressing that they miss going to them, but staff is providing opportunities for activities and other entertainment, offering car rides and/or visits to areas where permitted.  

I shared some Scavenger Hunt information (shared by my community engagement co-worker Melinda) to Theresa Franklin, who said that she will forward it to the houses…could be a fun activity for all! 

I am very impressed and pleased with the positive attitude on the part of everyone with whom I spoke – some were house supervisors, others full or part-time staff (and I even had a chance to talk to a few individuals) – but all were willing to ‘share their story’.