Despite the challenges of coronavirus, the teams at Thera have continued to support people with a learning disability to move into their own home over the past 18 months.
One person we supported to move was Karen, who we were already supporting during the day in Lincolnshire. We started working with Karen in August 2020.
Karen has lived with her parents for her whole life. Her parents are getting older – now in their 70s – and were worried about what might happen in the future, especially living through a pandemic. Karen and her parents wanted to know she was settled into her own space. Leaving the family home during lockdown was going to be difficult for Karen, her family, and the Thera team, but they were all up for the task!
As part of the process of helping Karen move out, Thera staff needed to understand who Karen would like to live with. We check the compatibility of each person to see if they are likely to a good match to live together. The matching process is something that normally takes a while because there are several sessions between the individuals, followed by an overnight stay.
In this case though, the matching process had a helping hand! Karen and her parents heard through their care manager that a local gentleman was looking for someone to house-share with. The gentleman happened to be one of Karen’s good friends! They would often ride the bus together and hold hands, and already got along very well.
Reintroducing the two was nonetheless taken very seriously. Their bond was immediately obvious, and, after several meetings, it was decided that the two would make a good match. From there, steps were taken to help Karen move into her new home.
When it came to moving in in February 2021, Karen’s move was made more difficult because of coronavirus. Since she no longer lived with her parents, she was only allowed to see them a limited amount. It was very difficult for all of them as they couldn’t hug until the government restrictions eased in May 2021.
A further challenge was that Karen would have to isolate in her home away from her new housemate for two weeks after moving in. This meant keeping her distance from her friend, which wasn’t easy.
After the two weeks had passed, Karen was able to fully settle into her new home with her friend, and the team were able to work out how they could support her best.
Karen is very happy in her new home and is looking forward to being involved in activities in the community. She loves animals, so a trip to the local wildlife park is on the cards as soon as it’s safe! The team that support her are also hoping to take her swimming.
As soon as the cafes opened, Karen was able to take the big step of walking to her local café. After taking huge strides into her new independent life, she sat down and enjoyed a delicious coffee and carrot cake!
Everyone excelled under difficult circumstances and the staff team continue to help Karen live the independent life she wanted.
Karen’s parents said that they she had settled in really well and, now that restrictions are easing, they are able to visit her as regularly as the want. When asked about the process of helping Karen move out of the family home and into a new, independent life, they said:
Even though it’s hard, we’re really pleased we did it when we did. Karen is so happy!