In the state of Alaska, feeling connected can be a challenge, with neighbors sometimes miles away and reliable internet access often only available via satellite. Alaska is the least densely populated of all U.S. states and the state capital, Juneau, boasts a population of only 32,000.
But one service provider, REACH, has long been on a mission to connect the people they serve – many of whom have intellectual or developmental disabilities – with the services they need and the communities they live in.
“With Xia, I got so much more than I merely hoped for – I got what I dreamed of. I dreamed of staff that would love him and care for his emotional health – even when at times he is hard to love. I dreamed of staff that would look for innovative solutions to problems as they arose – because we knew that there would be problems."
Accustomed to fighting for freedom, Charles was determined not to let his disability take his own independence. He longed to be more active. His new tablet gives him more freedom to move around the community and to connect with friends and family through his touchscreen tablet.
Tech leader Therap features both SimplyHome and the Charles Lea Center in their newest video, which highlights the role of assistive technology in providing state-of-the-art, affordable, and person-centered care. The Charles Lea Center in Spartanburg, SC has worked with SimplyHome to pioneer the implementation of technology in their organization, one of the first in South Carolina.
Smart-home technology: It's not just for adults! Smart technology can be extremely beneficial to children, providing them with natural supports. Developing independent living skills from a young age prepares children for the transition to adulthood and community-based living.
Efrain uses SimplyHome technologies to increase independence with respect to his health. He uses Telehealth devices that record his blood sugar and blood pressure levels. He also uses a medication dispenser, which allows him to start his day and take medication without assistance from staff. “I like just getting up and being able to get going,” said Efrain. “It’s my own routine, I don’t have to wait for staff.”
Unsupervised time increases independence and fosters a sense of personal responsibility and self-reliance, but many residents are afraid to use it because they fear they will need staff and be unable to contact them. With this project, Melvin now wears a wrist pendant which is set to alert staff if he presses the button and needs support during his unsupervised time.
SimplyHome asked Brian a few questions about his life after Extreme Makeover, how technology impacts his life today, and where his goals will lead him next!
Before the Charles Lea Center outfitted the apartment with “smart” technology, Dodd had to have someone with him at all times. That Dodd is able to live by himself is a remarkable achievement given what he's gone through medically. During a visit to the hospital for surgery a few years ago, Dodd told the staff he wanted them to help him find an apartment in which he could live on his own. “They said, 'Oh, you can't do that.' And I was like, 'I'll show you I can do it. I know I can.'
Ben is one individual at CLC who is able to live on his own by using SimplyHome technology. But Ben isn’t the only one benefiting from this transition, as his mother can attest. “Last summer when I visited Ben, I got to sleep on his couch! I never thought I would be able to say that I had spent the week at my son’s place, but I DID! And over the Christmas holidays, he rode the TRAIN from Spartanburg to Philadelphia (and back) BY HIMSELF.”
With the help of SimplyHome technology, Laura and Vicki were able to move from the transition home to their permanent residence within months, as opposed to possibly years without assistive care technology.
Dakota is a young man who desired to live on his own. Dually diagnosed with mental health issues and IDD, he had been hospitalized twice for aggressive behavior that injured other adults. Dakota’s mother, however, knew that with the right natural supports, he could live in a supported community setting rather than in a group home. His team agreed that given his behavioral challenges, living alone could actually be a better option than congregate living.
David's Vision is David's dream of one day building a log cabin for himself on some family property with his red pickup truck and coon dog by his side. The purpose of David’s Vision is to help others with I/DD to attain safe, affordable independent housing.
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