Supporting Julie to achieve her goals
Julie C has lived in shared community accommodation with supports provided by OC Connections for most of her adult life.
During the week Julie attends WavLink where she is involved in activities that she enjoys such as cooking and beading at the weekends she likes to relax at home and socialise with friends. A naturally independent person, Julie’s life-long aspiration has been to one day enjoy the comforts and privacy of her own home and share her life with a partner.
Julie’s goal: I want to be more independent
For a number of years, Julie had been sharing a house with a participant who received 24-hour support. Over time, Julie had come to depend on this support to complete practical household tasks that she previously had undertaken herself such as washing her clothes, tidying and preparing meals.
Recently, Julie had begun to retreat into herself and was less willing to engage with people outside of her trusted support network. Through a combination of the growing dependence on support and her frustration with the current living arrangements, Julie was feeling that her opportunities were limited. Concerned staff worked with Julie to enable her to identify and articulate what she wanted to change then together they planned and developed a solution.
During the course of seeking alternative arrangements for Julie, the Community Living support team at OC Connections identified a rare opportunity to renovate an unused space adjoining one of their existing supported community homes in Oakleigh South into a self-contained studio apartment.
OC connections has recently completed a large-scale redevelopment project, successfully moving 30 people from congregate facilities to newly designed and purpose-built homes in the community. Thanks to the support from the Department of Health and Human Services, the architects involved in the project and the builders, Julie and the OC Connections Community Living team were able to call on this project team to design and build Julie’s new home exactly how she wanted it.
Moving house can be stressful so Julie’s support workers presented her with the opportunity to move into the main house temporarily while the adjoining apartment was under construction. This gave Julie the opportunity to get to know the residents in the house and her neighbours and familiarise herself with her new local community. This also gave Julie the opportunity to remain directly involved in the design and building process which helped decrease her anxiety about moving and made transition into the new studio a really positive experience.
Ahead of her move into her new flat, Julie settled into her temporary home in the adjoining house. Adopting Positive Behaviour Support techniques, her support staff helped her through the process to build her skills, strengthen the relationships with her new housemates and manage her anxieties over moving to ensure that she could embrace this new and positive stage.
For Julie, this was about gaining confidence in her own ability to practice previously-held skills and to develop new skills, enabling her to experience and enjoy greater independence.
In the few months that Julie has been in her new home, she has already returned to undertaking household tasks including washing and tidying and relies less on assistance. With a renewed interest in developing her cooking skills, Julie looks forward to preparing healthy meals in her own private kitchen and entertaining family and friends in her new unit.
Julie’s goal: “I want to live on my own”
Learning that Julie was unhappy with her living arrangements, her support team utilised the lifestyle mapping process to specifically identify the issues that were being affected and enable them to provide opportunities designed to improve Julie’s well-being.
This process has proven a highly effective tool for OC Connections in identifying people’s dreams and aspirations and supporting participants to achieve them.
By asking Julie what she wanted for her life, listening carefully to what she said and working with her to design a solution OC Connections has helped her to choose and obtain the outcomes most important to her.
For Julie, this was entirely about having her own space in which she would feel more independent, healthy, comfortable and happy.
Julie has created positive change in her life, through her openness and willingness to express to her support team about how she was feeling. She has developed the confidence to engage more with her local community and pursue activities that benefit her health and well-being.
Importantly, through this process, Julie has achieved the privacy and independence she has always longed for while retaining the opportunity to draw on supports from both peers and staff in the adjoining house if needed.
Julie’s new lease on life has increased her desire to set new goals around improving her fitness and eating more nutritious food.
Julie’s goal: “I want to make new friends”
Although a private person, Julie has expressed to her support team her desire to connect more with her community and develop new relationships. The location of her apartment is ideal as it adjoins the community living home with people who share similar interests which gives Julie the choice to interact with her friends in the house when she feels she needs company and the freedom to enjoy her own space as she pleases.
Staff have noticed a significant shift in Julie’s attitude since moving and observed her starting to set new goals including engaging in more social activities. Julie is excited about having her own space and is planning house warming celebrations with family and friends.
Supported by OC Connections, Julie has started to attend local sporting events with her housemates and is also developing her confidence travelling independently on public transport and shopping for groceries and household items.
She has developed stronger friendships with the residents in the adjoining house and has already started looking towards the future, mentioning that she may one day enable her to meet a partner and fall in love.
Having achieved her life-long aspiration of living on her own, Julie has never been happier.
Enjoying her new-found independence, Julie is surrounded by her trusted network of supporters, family and friends working together to help her transition into this exciting new phase. Her support team feel confident that Julie will continue to grow.
For the first time in a long time, Julie is excited about the future – confirmed by her preparedness to dream of one day sharing her life with someone special.
For Julie, her new home is so much more than just a roof over her head. It is symbolic of her independence, her continued growth and her developing confidence that drives her to pursue her dreams and aspirations.
For Julie, the future is bright
For more information about the OC Co-Achieve Model, click below