Moving into the home of a caring support companion is a life-changing experience for many people we serve in our host home program. The key to the program's success is the careful consideration devoted into pairing individuals with intellectual disabilities with the ideal support companion for them. Our goal is a perfect match, and occasionally it takes a few tries to find the best possible fit.
Geraldine is a 55-year-old woman in our host home program with behaviors that can be difficult to manage. Geraldine has lashed out at her providers, often throwing objects and cursing, or she becoming angry and leaving the home without notice – endangering herself. For months, Geraldine was moved from home to home because it was difficult to find a home that could meet her needs and a support companion who could manage her erratic behavior. In February 2017, Geraldine met Beverly Dumas, one of LSG’s host home providers, when she stayed overnight in her home for respite care. It was supposed to be a temporary arrangement, but Geraldine became so attached to Beverly that she did not want to go home. Beverly was willing to take Geraldine in her home full-time, so LSG worked quickly to get the paperwork completed.
Since Geraldine moved in with Beverly and Beverly’s mom in March, her behavior has improved remarkably.
“Geraldine’s behaviors have been well controlled. In the past she would call the police, run away from the home, become aggressive with her providers, but now she is a totally different person,” says Denise Parker, LSG Supervisor and Recruiter.
Geraldine enjoys spending time with Beverly, going shopping and going out to eat. The Dumas family has a miniature poodle that Geraldine loves to cuddle and play with and Beverly recently bought Geraldine her own beta fish to take care of.
“She’s a sweetheart. She just needed attention and love,” says Beverly. “She needed someone to talk with her and explain things. I don’t think anyone had ever had the chance to do that. I’ll let her know that there are certain things you just don’t do, or you have to wait until the right time to do them.”
In addition, Geraldine’s health has also improved since moving in with Beverly. Beverly makes Geraldine’s medical and dental care a priority. When Beverly came to the Dumas home, she had many dental issues that needed addressing, so Beverly searched out a dentist that would accept Medicaid. Soon Geraldine will have oral surgery to correct the issues with her teeth that are causing her discomfort and pain.
Recently, Geraldine started attending a day program for the first time. Dumas says, “We started her out going one or two days a week and she loved it. She loves going to school and being in school every day now.”
Are you interested in learning more about becoming a host home provider or supporting our Home and Community Based Service programs? Call LSG at 404-875-0201 for information.