Working at moving out: Part 3
Earlier this year I wrote about a resident couple who were planning to move out of the nursing home (see “Related articles” below).
Right before I wrote those blogs, Mindy started working with a different job coach. She applied for jobs and was interviewed and hired at a fast food restaurant in early May. She was told she would be cleaning up, but on her first day after she told the manager that she previously had worked for that fast-food chain. She was put on the broil line and has been there ever since.
Mindy wears a uniform and travels to and from work by paratransit bus during the week and by taxi on the weekends. Her job coach is assisting her with her monthly bus pass and she pays the cab fare. There were, however, some snafus with transportation in the early going. At times drivers forgot her or were late. Then, either Mindy or the nurse would have to make a quick call to the bus or taxi so she could get to work on time.
Mindy started out working three to four hours a few days a week. She got along well with her coworkers. Before long she was working more hours, mainly because she comes in when they need her.
Now Mindy usually works five or six days a week. Sometimes she works full-time hours. Her earnings have allowed her to pay off an outstanding bill she owed the nursing home. Some of her earnings pay for work-related expenses, and some money is used for her personal expenses.
CG has always planned to move to a small town 30 miles away to be close to family and friends. He worked in that community and knows his way around. But to move out he had to connect with Home Choice, an organization that helps Ohio nursing home residents transition to community living.
To stay focused and busy, CG began volunteering at a church thrift shop two blocks away.. He does everything from sorting and tagging donations to working in the shop. He also does maintenance duties such as sweeping the parking lot and cutting grass. The thrift shop manager told CG he will hate to see him move away, but he will write a letter of recommendation to help him in his future job search.
CG is supposed to move out soon. Home Choice will pay half his rent for a year. They also have allowed him a budget for furniture, household items, linens and food to fill his cupboards. Next week the Home Choice Transition Coordinator will take him shopping. He has a one-bedroom apartment on the ground floor with easy access. He is thrilled because he has a small patio and nearby laundry facilities.
CG would like to drive. But for now he will have to depend on the paratransit bus and taxi cabs. At some point, he will take a driver’s education refresher course to ensure his safety while driving. He also needs to be in a better financial place to afford a vehicle.
Although Mindy and CG wanted to move out together, they will not be doing so. CG will go first. Mindy’s guardian requires that Mindy work a year while living in the facility before she attempts to move out. That will give the guardian and Mindy some idea of her ability to work long-term. It will also allow for preplanning for the eventual move.
CG is busy making lists and Mindy is being supportive. A friend of Mindy's will bring CG to the facility for regular visits. CG has given Mindy his older laptop and she will communicate with him via Facebook. And I am sure there will be some phone calls between the two.
CG wants to find a part-time job to help supplement his income. After he lives successfully in the community for a year his Home Choice assistance will end. He then will be responsible for his entire rent and other expenses.
When CG told me two years ago that he wanted to move out, I told him it would take some persistence. I also told him that he would have to get his guardian and facility management to believe in his abilities and staying power.
Both Mindy and CG have been very motivated for two years. However, moving out of a facility and leaving its supports behind is quite a change. CG will become the master of his destiny when he moves out.
I have to admit that I, who thinks anything is possible, am pleased to see the determination these two have displayed. Now, they need to exercise responsibility and self-discipline to keep things on track for the long haul. Each of them has to be good separately before they try to make a go of it together.