“Home Is Not Where You Live, But Where They Understand You.”
- Christian Morganstern.
Home is not only where the heart is, it’s also the place to learn the necessary skills that allow you to succeed in every facet of life. It’s where lessons are taught and where compassion is shown. It’s where sharing is expected and where mutual respect is demonstrated.
Finding the right home situation is the mission of The Moore Center’s Residential Team, which seeks to place adults over the age of 21 with developmental disabilities and acquired brain disorders in residential settings that offer a safe, supportive and caring environment.
“Simply put, we’re the matchmakers who help clients find the right living situation to lead the most fulfilling life possible,” said Denise Gookin, Residential Shared Homes Manager. “It’s a great responsibility, but the best job imaginable.”
At present, three community residences are staffed 24 hours a day, providing services to people who require a high level of support, structure and personal care. The most typical residential setting is a shared home where people live with an unrelated family or with a roommate. Both types of settings are supported by residential teams who match individuals and providers based on interests, activity level, home environment and medical and social needs.
“There’s really no ‘one size fits all’ situation,” said Cecile Johnston, Residential Shared Homes Coordinator. “These are real people with real challenges and real opportunities for success. You can never overlook the emotion involved with making sure that both the clients and providers feel comfortable with each other.”
The ability to determine the best fit comes from experience and The Moore Center’s Residential Team boasts a combined 141 years in the field, an impressive track record in an industry where turnover can be problematic.
“Where others in our field have only read about placing clients, we’ve lived it,” said Carol Durocher, Residential Shared Homes Coordinator. “We pride ourselves on our problem solving and teamwork. I know that we all work together for the sake of the client and that the answers to a difficult question are just a cubicle away.”
The team’s measure of success differs from client to client. For one client, learning to brush his teeth independently was an incredible mountain to climb. For another, transitioning from violent behaviors that almost necessitated a state hospital placement to living peacefully as part of a family was a tremendous outcome.
“We just take such glory from both the large and small successes,” said Gookin. “We recognize that our clients often face some pretty incredible obstacles and for them to work hard and make the changes that allow them to be productive members of society is very special.”
Gookin adds that the team’s combined experience, sense of teamwork and commitment to “not making this a 9-5 job” creates an situation where clients are not only supported and empowered, but also placed in situations where all involved emerge richer from the situation. “After all, we’re talking about people’s lives and how they are going to become happy and find the right fit,” she said. “There’s nothing more important than feeling connected and feeling like you’re part of a family. Who doesn’t want to feel cared for and loved?”