Gordon – Living independently
Gordon’s journey is one of transition. From living with Mum, to living in a respite accommodation, to living in supported accommodation, and now living independently in his own unit in an area of his choice.
This journey began when Gordon’s Mum had a heart attack in 2012 and he was faced with no choice but to go into a respite care situation that lasted for a period of 6 months. His Mum was a key carer in Gordon’s life and the extreme change was very difficult.
Gordon dreamed of living independently but was restricted by available funding and was unaware of all the available options. Disability Services interviewed Gordon in regards to living in a share accommodation home which at the time was the only option presented to him. Gordon did not know what to expect and was not aware that he had any other choice in the matter.
Living in a shared home:
Gordon moved into a shared home for 2 years and during this time there were many challenges. The process of this move did not start out good at all; he met the two people that he was going to be sharing with only once and he felt that there was not enough time to make an informed decision after meeting so briefly.
Gordon soon realised that his housemates were not a good match and was living in conflict for the majority of his time at the home. He was not receiving the support that he required and when he spoke up about the issues occurring in the home, he felt that things became even worse. He felt that he was not being listened to and did not feel like an equal member in his home.
This left Gordon feeling down and at times depressed. He had finally had enough of his living situation and called Susan (Client Services Manager) at Muscular Dystrophy Queensland (MDQ) to get some support and guidance about how he could turn this around. Susan asked Gordon if he would like MDQ to advocate on his behalf and he was very grateful that we could assist in this way. The desire to live on his own was the most important goal for him to achieve.
Finding his voice:
Susan and his case worker Maryanne organised a stakeholder meeting with all interested parties. Before the meeting, Gordon had prepared his case study and notes on how he had felt during the past 2 years living in the group home, clearly outlining situations he felt were not acceptable. Having read through the notes that Gordon had prepared, both Susan and Maryanne realised that he had been able to articulate all of his concerns so well that although MDQ was present at the meeting as Gordon’s advocate, it was Gordon who took control of the meeting. He had found his voice, people were finally listening.
The stakeholder meeting gave him clarity regarding what he wanted and to be able to work towards a goal that gave him choice and control.
Another meeting was held at MDQ involving Disability Services who supported Gordon with a public housing application and support letter. MDQ also provided a support letter and ongoing communication support to assist Gordon with his dream of living independently.
Realising his dream:
After waiting for a period of 5-6 months an opportunity became available and after a couple of visits, Gordon made the exciting decision to move. An occupational therapist (OT) from housing assisted Gordon to set things up and organise a few accessibility issues.
Gordon says that the best thing about living on his own is that he has freedom to do whatever he wants to do and no more anxiety. He says that he feels safer where he is living now on his own than he ever did living in the shared home.
There is greater responsibility living independently but also freedom to make your own choices. “Bite the bullet and go for it” is Gordon’s motto but he also suggests to have a safety plan and vital call to minimise risks. He feels that he is living in a community with shops and medical services close by.
Gordon is very appreciative of the support that MD Qld provided in his journey home and he is now looking forward to achieving his new goal of planning a holiday.