When I was in my last Semester of college, I was looking for some sort of residential place to meet my mental health needs. This was hard because I didn’t have any hospitalizations in my history, and I didn’t have my depression as a charted major diagnosis as it is now along with generalized anxiety disorder and PTSD. Still I had an intuitive feeling that I needed some sort of structured living situation to support both my mental health needs.
I was researching and found this Organization.
Ikos Community Services
From the website:
The name "EIKOS" was derived from the Greek word OIKOS which means "home, household or extended family EIKOS
From the website and talking directly with Barbara Deck, executive director, that’s exactly what this place is about.
They have a model of different levels of residential support. The main house has the most staff. They have a lot of services right there. It holds 13 or so people. Staff are there 24/7. The next house is about five minutes away. Again it holds 14 or so people. There are I’d imagine less staff but staff still there and people get a lot of support from the main house.
There are then apartments where people have roomates with staff as needed. I think this model is so creative and amazing because of how flexible everything is. People can transition to less support when they’re ready or get more support cutting down on hospitalizations.
Another factor I really like is that they have therapy and a day program right at the main house. So there isn’t the issue of transportation and people going to a separate facility for day treatment and having to coordinate all that. Not that that couldn’t happen, and I really haven’t heard of any other places that do what they’re doing. We have groups here but they’re not very good at all. With such a small number of residents, and it seems much more qualified staff I’m sure the programing is of great quality.
So they basically take care of everything. Meals I’m sure way better than here, they coordinate medical care encourage activities in the community ETC.
Financially in the past I believe they operated on a sliding scale where people could work something out with their social security ETC. Now as in in 2012 and later, when I’ve talked with Barbara they have to receive the full amount each month. Which amounts to (checking the site$8000 for the first two months, and $6000/month for subsequent months. There is a three month minimum stay.)
I honestly don’t know where they came up with these high numbers. I don’t know who can actually afford that rate. It really does get to me seeing these wonderful looking psychiatric residential places that sound just like I and so many others need that are so beyond unaffordable.
Unlike other places I’ve contacted where once they find out you can’t pay they don’t want to hear from you, Barbara has been awesome. I remember she said I’d “feel loved and part of a family” there. She said I could visit if I wanted but it would make me sad because I’d want to go there more. So she’s awesome. And I’m sure her staff are too. I’ve seen some linked in profiles where people from Lesley have interned or worked there.
So that’s the model I feel would be the best for everyone. Having a flexible level of support rather than sayingyour only option is to live in supported apartments or you have to live in an intermediate care place. I think lack of choice is so limiting and gives poor quality of life for people if they feel pressured into one option or another. I’d imagine the second level house with the middle level of support where it’s quieter and people can have more independence but are still connected to a lot of resources probably gets a lot of interest.
The financial aspect is something I feel advocacy roups or other groups with possible resources need to come together on. I think people must know intellectually that it isn’t right that these awesome places are created and yet a huge percentage of people in need can’t even get in the door. I think the solution is either to create something more affordable, like that Medicaid would be willing to pay for or that could be covered monthly by one’s social security check; or put a lot towards donations so that there’s a chance for some people who couldn’t otherwise go to be able to go.
I know zero about organizational development or business or finance. I’ve tried suggesting this to a couple people and they’ve basically said it’s imposible. I want to say nothing is imposible but that’s niaeve. In this world particularly for those that don’t have the financial means, and have disabilities there’s a lot standing in their way. The system often has little to provide though things sound good on paper. The honest professionals themselves admit this. People die from lack of care. And things stay the same because often there are just no answers and they’ve worked hard enough cobleing together some kind of service delivery system, and budgets are tight anyway so this will have to do. Whatever “this” is.
So I guess all I can do is keep writing. And hopefully along the way find more and more like minded people who are supportive and maybe even resourceful enough to make something like Ichos an affordable reality.
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