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Louise’s Story

Below is a story contributed by ROOF member Louise…if you have a housing success story that you would like to share, please contact us.

My name is Louise. I have been in supported living for 22 years, almost 23. I have been in several programs, and most of my support people are still my friends today. I have never needed twenty-four hour supports.

I was scared to leave my parents home because it was a new experience. I had never been on my own before. My mother especially, but also my dad, encouraged me to be independent and advised me that even a person who is disabled also has a voice in their future, even the lower level could. My mother does not realize how smart I am and sometimes tries to run my life even though I am forty-eight years old. My dad died from Alzheimer a few years ago, and I wish there could be a cure. It is a very bad thing. My Dad was a scientist and he was a very smart man.

People with all disabilities don’t realize that they have a say in their life. I feel we have been taken for granted. I have been treated fairly and have had very good supported living specialists. I do not want Managed Care or anyone managing my life. That would mean that we would not have any choice and also all the coordinators would lose their jobs.

I lived in an apartment for six years and then I moved into a condo fifteen years ago in April. My parents, with my supported living coach, helped me find and buy my own condo. I feel more independent in my condo because I now own where I live. I have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and living room. I go across the street to my clubhouse to wash my cloths. My supports are always trying to find me a roommate to help with expenses, but I’m more independent than most people. If someone comes along, I am willing to evaluate it as an independent person with choice. I do like living alone. I had a roommate once and her mom would not let her have choice and be independent. Actually, her mom was trying to control my life too. We were definitely not compatible.

I was scared to be on my own at first but I have also gotten better with social skills every year. I have learned a lot of things from being on my own. I have great Christmas parties at my club house every year. People tell me they are legendary. I go to church, swim and meet neighbors at the club house, go to movies, and shop! I live near Ross, Dollar Tree and a new store, 5 and Below. Otherwise, I’m busy cleaning house and working.

I have been working at Publix fifteen years, as of last October. I am a front-end bagger. I like my job for the most part. The customers are friendly. I walk about two blocks to work. I found a wallet from one of our customers at Publix. They sent me a thank you note with a $50.00 reward. My boss said it was ok to take it.

I am a strong advocate. I like helping other people. Because of all my experiences, I know a lot of people in the right places, connections. I have been a member of our local Family Care Council for thirteen years and I have held board positions. I like helping, especially the handicapped who cannot speak up for themselves and their rights. Some of them, including their parents, do not realize they have rights.