For one Florida family, Ohio has its advantages
“Some people thought we were crazy to move back to Ohio after living in Florida for 15 years,” says Becky Stark, the mother of Adam Trevino, a resident of the Meadows, GentleBrook’s intermediate care facility (ICF) in Hartville, Ohio. “But for Adam and our family, it was the best decision we could have ever made.”
Forty-year old Adam has always been a courageous “fighter” within the community of individuals with developmental disabilities. Born with cerebral palsy, Adam was three months old when he lost his biological father in a car accident. Three years later, Becky married Don Stark and Adam had a complete and loving family once again, and Don is the only father he’s ever known.
In grade school, the local school system placed Adam into a regular classroom, which helped him develop into a very social and outgoing person. Although Adam is non-verbal, he communicates well with the use of an alphabet book and enjoys participating in a wide range of activities and work experiences.
From Sunny Florida to Northeast Ohio
“We lived in Bonita Springs, Florida for 15 years and we know that there is nothing like the GentleBrook ICFs available there. Adam lived in an ICF in Florida for two years and it was not a good experience. His work there was to roll silverware into a napkin all day. It was very monotonous work and he didn’t enjoy it at all.”
Adam’s care is complicated by the fact that he’s been a diabetic since he was a teenager and is dependent on daily insulin injections. His glucose levels fluctuate and need to be monitored regularly. Due to his cerebral palsy, he can’t check his own glucose levels and needs 24/7 medical supervision.
A wonderful discovery
Becky discovered GentleBrook and the Meadows by accident in late 2017 when she was in Ohio visiting her sister who lives in Stark County. “We were out shopping and happened to eat lunch at the Front Porch Café and Store in Hartville and saw information there about GentleBrook’s intermediate care facilities. Don and I brought Adam to visit the Meadows later that year and we were so impressed with the facility, the caregivers and the activities and work options that were available. By April of 2018, we had moved back to Ohio and Adam was the newest resident of the Meadows.”
Becky and Don were able to work with the staff at GentleBrook to qualify Adam for the Meadows under the entitlement in the Medicaid system.
Adam works two days a week at the GentleBrook workshop, doing sanding and staining of wood products. He also spends two days a week at the GentleBrook Greenhouse, and one day a week he shreds paper. “Adam loves shredding paper,” says Becky. “He gets a little paycheck, out of which he puts a dollar in the church offering and buys himself a Sunday paper. He loves knowing that it’s his money and he earned it!”
Because Don and Becky live nearby, Adam can go home with them many weekends and spends every holiday with them. “Adam really has the best of both worlds. He’s busy Monday through Friday living and working at the Meadows, yet we’re able to have him at home with us for special family times and events.”
A Time for Transitions
“We have seen other families who wait too long to make this transition for their adult child with developmental disabilities to find a residential option that works,” says Becky. “Some parents are in their eighties and still have adult children who are in their sixties living with them. We knew that at one point there would be a transition for Adam, and we wanted to make it as easy on him as possible. So, we chose to be proactive and help with the transition now.”
Becky and Don know that GentleBrook’s ICF is exactly the right place for Adam. “Because of his diabetes, Adam needs ongoing nursing care and the family atmosphere at the Meadows is just the place that meets all of our needs. We’re so thankful that the staff at GentleBrook treat Adam and the other residents like family, because we know we’re not going to be here forever,” adds Becky. “And there’s great comfort in knowing that Adam will be well cared for – even when we’re not around.”
Smiling with his heart
Darcy and Tim Michaels have never seen their son Bobby smile. Born without a corpus colossum – which is the part of the brain that connects all four hemispheres together – Bobby has a condition known as Nager Syndrome. That means he’s not able to show any facial expression or cry tears. He also has trouble chewing food.
But to those who know him well, Bobby smiles with his heart when he’s happy and contented. And he’s most happy when he’s learning and working as a resident at the Meadows, GentleBrook’s intermediate care facility in Hartville, Ohio.
“Bobby has been a survivor from the first days of his life when he learned how to use his tongue to drink from a bottle,” says Darcy. Now 31 years old, Bobby attended Southgate School for his early years and loved it there. But after graduating in his late teens, there was no workplace where he could thrive and grow.
Finding his purpose in life
“I took Bobby to work with me for a few years, but he really needed an environment where he could enjoy working and having as normal a life as possible,” Darcy explains. “He went to the old Whippledale workshop in Canton for a few years and a staff member there told me about the Meadows.”
Before being admitted as a resident of the Meadows two years ago, Bobby worked in the GentleBrook Day Array program that helps developmentally disabled individuals learn new skills and gain valuable work experience. Today, Bobby still loves working in the GentleBrook program and enjoys making soap and sanding wood for furniture items sold in the Front Porch Store.
More than just a place to stay
Bobby has medical conditions that make the 24/7 medical care offered by the Meadows a necessity. Because he has swelling in his legs from lymphedema, Bobby’s legs need to be massaged every day. And when eating, he doesn’t know when he’s full, so he tends to overeat.
“The nurses and staff at the Meadows are just so good at helping Bobby live a healthier lifestyle,” says Darcy. “They keep him so busy that he doesn’t continually focus on food and is maintaining a better weight level. Bobby needs that extra attention the staff gives to help him with personal hygiene habits. I’m really happy with the care he receives at the Meadows and I know that they’re there for Bobby and for me.”
Darcy says she appreciates that the GentleBrook staff treats Bobby like an adult when he’s at the Meadows. Like any good Mom, though, she still likes to spoil him when he goes home for a weekend or a holiday. “But after one night of cuddling with me at home, it’s as if Bobby is saying to me: ‘Okay Mom, enough of that – I’m ready to get back to work at GentleBrook!’”