So the big event of the day. Jess and I came up with the most comprehensive list of questions possible about what we wanted to know. Kim the head person and we talked for an hour! She happily answered every single question in an energetic and genuine way.
Basically it’s like Friedman Place but brand new. Will open next month. So the building is new they’re hiring all these new staff and are in the up beat we’re starting out stage!
They have 105 apartments. Some are single rooms and some are double. If Jess and I go we’d get a double.
They have three meals in the dining room but you can have food in your little kitchen and I imagine a microwave as we had one at FP.
They have the dining room lots of activity rooms downstairs an outdoor patio and everything.
She said since it’s new that residents would have a huge part in planning all the different activities and things. They will have an exercise room and I advocated for a trampoleen with handles on it for safety she said she’d look into it but kinda laughed too.
You can’t have a cat or dog. Though she said therapy dogs would be brought in, she has a puppy that she hopes to train as a therapy dog. She was like yeah ok, I guess cats need some love too even though my daughter’s cat is an evil kitty! She did say a small pet in a cage could be acceptable with discussion. Jess wants a ferrit of course!
The disabilities so far that she mentioned were things like blindness, deaf, stroke, brain injury, CP, autism heart disease ETC.
On the mental illness she said that on paper the primary diagnosis had to be your physical disability and your psych issues need to be managed outside the facility. But that they would refer you to places and keep tabs on it as much as they can. I’m sure should we go forward Jonathan will be contacting them and talking to them about my issues. I particularly want to know how much is “being in and out of the hospital” like if I or Jess did get hospitalized could we still live there? So much to talk about there and so hard as it brings back memories of FP and having to hide my illness and having staff not get it and not being open with other residents and just yeah. But she studied sociology and seemed to understand about things. If we went, and even if we don’t, I’d suggest that groups be started at least one for residents that do have mental health issues so we can at least feel like we’re not alone living there with this problem. It does sound like within the limits of the facility they’ll do what they can.
What else? Weekly housekeeping, help with daily living activities like bathing laundry ETC. But everything is individualized and they’re very much about empowering people to do what they can and expand that as well as be there to assist.
One last amazing thing: We were talking about down the road going for a tour. I guess Peoria is like two hours away. She said she’d be willing to drive us the trip up and back I was like OMG!
It made me excited. It feels like a place where I can have more independence than I have here, a nicer cleaner building with residents who don’t have quite so huge behavioral problems. To have more money out of my check a month would be awesome! And just new oppurtunities I wouldn’t get being here meeting new people and all.
But I’m still remembering how bad I got and don’t want to go back there again. I feel emotionally so safe at Albany. Even though I hardly reach out to the caseworkers I’m really really glad they’re there and I feel safe knowing they are there. Knowing that they know how to coordinate apointments even if they mess it up LOL, get your doctor on the phone quickly and just know the ins and outs of mental illness. Staff not having that knowledge scares me. So it’s a lot to process. And we wouldn’t be doing anything til a year from now at least. Jess needs to finish up her schooling, and I think we both need to continue to get as stable as possible. Though there’s a real unknown about mental illness. It’s like with any physical illness. One of my good friends has diabetes and she does everything right and it’s just killing her. It’s one huge illness after the other and she’s doing all she can. I’m just worried that it could get to the point that I need the stability and knowledge that only a place like Albany can offer. This place saved my life. Jonathan has guided me through everything and I know he’ll be there every step of the way to guide Jess and I. But it’s still extremely terrifying to consider leaving even if it’s to an assistive living place.
If people want more information about gateway please let me know. Ya know I’ll just leave the phone number
Also because the place is brand new they need suggestions for activities/ support groups and other things at the facility to engage in. So if you were theoretically gonna live at a place like this what activitys/ groups would you want to have them have?
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