The concept of providing services outside the home for our clients has been changing for many years. LIFEDesigns has worked to remain in the forefront of these changes, and we continue to make changes in order to support our mission to partner with and promote independence for people with disabilities. The first phase of change began when LECO changed to Community Integration Services (CIS) shortly before the impact of COVID-19 was known. The second phase was to continue moving toward more individualized community activities with clients. Once the extent of the pandemic was known, the CIS program was suspended and CIS staff went to work in residential settings.
It has now been five months since CIS was suspended, and there is no end of the danger from COVID-19 in sight. Some facility-based day programs have reopened by invitation only. But our programs have not been facility-based and moving to such a program would be not only a step backwards but a move toward programming that does not help clients become active and involved members of their community. As a result we have made the difficult decision to discontinue offering scheduled day services. We will work with clients, guardians, and service teams to find ways to give clients time out of the home in a safe manner which likely means one staff member with one client in most cases. Moving to this model will take time since for many clients it will involve changes in their PC-ISP as well as budgets. Our Services staff will work closely with teams to promote this individualized service that truly helps clients explore their likes, expand their interests, and increase their community engagement and quality of life.
It has been a busy summer for LIFEDesigns! Since the pandemic began, we have been adjusting to our new ‘normal’ regarding events, client activities and overall day-to-day tasks for our administrative staff.
From fundraising to planning future events and more, we have been making sure to stick to our mission, despite this abnormal summer. To see what we’ve been up to, check out our August 2020 Newsletter!
The past few months have demonstrated the resilience and adaptivity our staff, clients and caregivers. When the Governor mandated Indiana’s stay-at-home order, LIFEDesigns moved to virtual operations, providing numerous live and zoom activities, while also continuing to support our clients through the aid of our wonderful direct support professionals.
The story of Jennifer Patterson highlights how LIFEDesigns was able to support our clients through these unprecedented times. Jennifer is a client most at the office know very well. Along with working at McCalister’s, Jennifer works at the LIFEDesigns’ office part time in janitorial services. While cleaning she enjoys catching up with LIFEDesigns’ operational staff and meeting new employees. Jennifer is unique since her mother, Dixie Patterson, is also her DSP. As a team, they keep pretty busy. Even after the stay at home order they have kept a very tight schedule. Due to the stay-at-home order, Jennifer moved from her independent living apartment back home with her family in order to be cared for and reduce risk. Jennifer and Dixie turned quarantine into pure fun. They participated in several of Alyssa’s Live Cooking and Exercise classes, “Fun with Friends” on Zoom and Brandi’s Crafting class. Dixie reports that because of these classes Jennifer has learned how to measure when cooking and how to join Zoom meetings. She says that these meetings are “great opportunities to see her friends”. Jennifer’s and Dixie’s ability to adapt and still connect is exactly what staff at LIFEDesigns had hoped for our clients.
While the stay-at-home order may have lifted, LIFEDesigns is still working carefully to support our clients through virtual activities. We are also reinforcing new regulations such as face coverings, temperature monitoring and social distancing in the office. Gifts and event attendance are very much needed to continue supporting clients such as Jennifer, if you are willing and able to help please consider visiting our current needs page.
Much congratulations goes out to our client, Tristan! After four hard years, Tristan graduated high school!! This large feat would normally be celebrated with an in person graduation at the school, wearing a cap and gown, and walking across a stage to receive a diploma. Sadly, due to covid, Tristan’s high school graduation was canceled. LIFEDesigns’ Team Manager, Layla, however, planned a covid friendly celebration- a surprise caravan parade! About 10 cars filled with LIFEDesigns’ staff placed the unaware Tristan and his staff at the street corner near his house. They honked their horns and held signs out of the window stating just how proud they were of Tristan’s success. Tristan’s smile could be seen from miles away. He surely was surprised and was even more surprised when he was given a gift card to his favorite fast food place. Tristan is just one of the clients we serve at LIFEDesigns and his success is one in many we hope to continue to celebrate. We are so proud of Tristan and so proud of Layla, who went above and beyond to celebrate his special day.