Expanding our Horizons

Month: January, 2014

2013 Year in Review

Our purpose statement is: “To enhance the lives of those we help be empowering them to achieve rewarding lives full of new possibilities.” We have helped even more people live rewarding lives in 2013 than we did in 2012. In 2013, we added three new people to our Supported Living Program, two people to our mill levy funded program, and one person to our comprehensive program.

A rewarding life means different things to different people. For some people, it means going camping in the summer, for others, it could mean being healthier. For one young man, it means living in his own apartment.

This young man had been living in a group home with four other people. At the home, he was learning skills he’d need to live more independently. An opportunity presented itself and he decided to try living on his own. He is now living in an apartment and loves it. He invites people over, fixes lunch once a week for his friends from the group home, and tells everyone he sees about his new place. If the conversation shifts to his apartment, his face lights up and he offers to take you there. He has always worked. He had a job at a local business that closed but it wasn’t long before he found another job. He is now working 20 hours a week instead of 10 hours and is making new friends. He takes breaks with his co-workers and attended their holiday party. I am sure he has invited everyone at work to see his apartment. It’s just a matter of time before they have all seen it!

A woman who lives on her own had been struggling with budgeting her limited funds. Her first priority was to pay off her bills. Once she did that, she started saving her money for a washer/dryer for her home. She saved her money over a long period of time. When she went to the Laundromat, she skipped the dryer and took wet clothes home to hang dry. She put the money she saved by not using the dryer at the Laundromat into her washer/dryer fund. By November, she had almost saved enough money. The owner of Last Time Round, the thrift store where she volunteers, stepped in to make up the shortfall and she now happily does laundry at home.

JRs new laundry

A young woman who is new to Horizons loves to swim. Since she lives in a small town, she does not have access to a pool. We brainstormed with her mom and figured out a way to share the responsibility of transportation to get her to Steamboat so that she can swim and relax at the Old Town Hot Springs with new friends.

One of our employees, Tommy, has a band called Badunkafunk. They play for Horizons’ events and out at bars around town. Two men in our program have a dream of being involved with musicians and the whole music scene. They offered to be ‘roadies’ for Badunkafunk. They help set up then stay to enjoy the music and meet new people.

Tommy's Best of 2013 063

My last example is an older woman who grew up on a ranch. Until she started receiving Supported Living Services (SLS), she hadn’t left the ranch in ten years. Now that she is in the SLS program, she goes out every Wednesday for lunch with the seniors from the Council on Aging, she exercises in an Aging Well class and she plays bingo. Her brothers even brought her to our Christmas party where she thoroughly enjoyed herself dancing with a man she met at the party.

Lives change for people who are helped by Horizons – some in big ways and some in small ways. Hopefully, you know someone whose life is more rewarding because of their connection to Horizons.

Happy New Year!

It’s All About Me

We were reminded again last week that the work of becoming Person Centered is worth the time and effort.  A woman, who lives in a home with two of her friends and rotating counselors who provide round the clock supervision, tripped and fell. It turns out that she has a fracture in her hip that was hard for her doctor to diagnose. Once the fracture was confirmed, her doctor admitted her to the Yampa Valley Medical Center for three days so that when she was released, she could be admitted to the Doak House for convalescent care. This woman has lived in her home for so long that we were worried about the transitions she would need to make.

A group of people who know her best decided to use a tool from our Person Centered Thinking training. It is the important “to” and important “for” tool. Using this structure, they came up with a description of her that is personal as opposed to the usual Fact Sheet that we might have provided to the hospital in the past. The description is titled It’s All About Me and has a beautiful photo along with important things for the nursing staff to know.

Things you can learn about her from It’s All About Me are that she likes red and purple, a quiet environment, polished nails, braided hair, people to talk to, and compliments. She likes to sing to country music, drink decaf coffee and tea, and do puzzles. She likes to be included in conversations and will often compliment others. You can also learn about things that are important “for” her: these are mostly health related.

It’s All About Me not only helps the professionals who will work with her get to know her, it also communicates how special she is: her smile, sense of humor, silliness, and how much she cares about others. I stopped by to visit her at the hospital and I like to think that the story about her made a difference. The nurses were attentive, caring, and perhaps most importantly, explained to her what they were about to do. She was relaxed as she worked on her puzzle and as comfortable as you can be with a fractured hip. We all want her to heal quickly so that she can come back home.