Home for the Holidays

Our friend and neighbour Nate is living life a little differently these days.

As the year winds down and we head into the holiday season Nate’s got just about everything he needs to celebrate Christmas and welcome the new year. His Christmas tree is up and decorated. He’s got plans underway to cook a festive feast for his family and he’s looking forward to what so many of us look forward to in this holiday (if we’re being honest): opening presents!

Nates Christmas Tree

Most of all, he’s looking forward to spending Christmas in his own home. It’s truly a new and different experience for Nate – a dream that became a plan, and a plan that eventually became reality.

We can take what it means to live in one’s own home – and to have the choice and opportunity to do so –  for granted sometimes. It’s not a given for everyone. It hasn’t always been a given for people who have a disability. Choices about life for some have been historically and unfairly limited – including choices about where someone wanted to live. In fact, where someone lived was often determined by whether or not a spot opened up.

 

The choice was simply to take the placement or not, versus asking yourself, “could I see this as my home?”.

We’ve come very far in rights and opportunities for people with a disability but, at the same time, we are not so far from a time in history that saw other people making decisions about where people should live. This included placing people in special housing programs, large institutions, or group homes.

Nate is living proof that much has changed; that there is more than one way to live; that all people can and should determine how, with whom and where they want to live; and that people should have every opportunity and support available to imagine and create the homes they want for themselves and as individuals.  Before moving into his new home just about 6 months ago, Nate hadn’t had the opportunity to say where and who he wanted to live with.  That has all changed.

When asked about what he loves most about his new home, and what’s different about it for him, Nate's answer is quick and clear, “ the space, the quiet, the freedom...being able to go for walks”.

The freedom part is especially important for Nate. In his own home he gets to enjoy the freedom of a new routine that he chooses – like getting up each morning, deciding what the day will look like and hold, making and eating what he wants for his breakfast, watching a bit of TV, or using his computer before work. Believe it or not, Nate loves to clean in his new place, too, and takes pride in being able to enjoy the comforts of a home he cleaned himself.  

Nate making Christmas cookies

Before having his own place, he knew he wanted something different.

He knew he needed to take a step and get some help to make it all happen. Sitting in his living room today, and as his grandfather pops by for a visit, Nate credits his friends and those who believe in him, who helped to develop a plan so he could search for and find his new home.

Apparently Nate’s plan brought him exactly to the place where he wanted to be. Home for Christmas!

That’s a gift to himself he got to open early!

 

Are you thinking about where you want to live and want to make a change? Imagining what’s possible is a great first step and a plan can help you get there. It may feel overwhelming but you’re not alone and you don’t have to do it alone. BDACI facilitators are here to help you. Think about it and reach out to us at contactus@bdaci.com

 

Partners for Planning - Caring for a person with a disability
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Our Goal: That Communities offer all people equal opportunity, full participation, respect and value as individuals.