Sarah lived fairly independently for 28 years in a wonderful home located in Brookline with 9 roommates. She was the first student with Down syndrome to graduate from Lesley College’s Threshold Program. She took the T independently all over Boston, walked to local shops to do errands, had a special boyfriend and worked at Morgan Memorial.
In the spring of 2012, family members and staff became concerned that she might be losing skills. A diagnosis was reached that Sarah was experiencing early Alzheimer’s. Shortly thereafter, The Department of Developmental Services stepped forward with a Priority One for residential placement.
Support Brokers was called upon in the summer of 2013 to locate an appropriateresidential placement for Sarah. The father lived in New Hampshire and the mother down on Cape Cod. Therefore, they needed someone local to explore possibilities.
It was the parent’s wish that Sarah reside in a home properly cared for where she could age in place; where she could be with people of varied abilities to encourage a stimulating environment, and one that could accommodate physical and functional changes that may be encountered with aging. The parents wanted the staff to have an understanding of Sarah’s interests such as working with her hands, drawing, coloring, rolling yarn to be able to engage her in activities she enjoyed. They wanted her to have opportunities to go out in the community for recreational and physical activities.
Sarah’s Support Broker Pat Pakos went to work exploring state-wide programs with agencies that might be suitable. Pat also worked with the Service Coordinator from the Department of Developmental Services and explored group homes that had become available.
During the course of searching for an appropriate residential placement, a decision was made to search for a new day program also.
It took a while but success was reached near the end of 2014. Sarah started an extraordinary day program operated by Hebrew Life in Roslindale at that time. She settled in immediately.
Moving day into her new residence was February 7, 2015. She had met her three roommates quite a few times out in the community and shared meals with them. Her family had come to the house a number of times meeting staff and decorating her room.
The family is extremely grateful to their Support Broker Pat for the work she did in finding the right placements for their daughter. As a post script, we have just learned that a fifth roommate has moved into the house. She is a dear friend of Sarah’s from grammar school and through high school. What a wonderful reunion!
A testimonial from Sarah’s parents
“As a family we cannot say enough about the wonderful service we received over a period of many months from Support Brokers. Words do not seem adequate to describe what a profound impact their efforts made in the life of our daughter, Sarah, and, certainly, in the lives of all of us who have loved her so for close to 54 years.
Sarah is thriving in her new environment because of the compassion, dedication and expertise of our Support Broker Pat Pakos who was determined to find the absolutely best available housing option for Sarah’s changing needs. We were all blessed to have her as Sarah’s advocate in this challenging search”