Host homes match an individual, couple or family in the community who wish to share life experiences with a person with a disability.
In 2012, Bethesda’s licensed group home in Littleton, Colo., required higher behavioral supports. The residents required ongoing habilitation services like physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy. Although, one resident in particular was of higher concern.
Born deaf and mute, sixty-year-old Jessie was diagnosed with intermittent explosive disorder. Communication was understandably hard. Simply trying to express daily needs and wants could lead to irritability, rage and even physical confrontation.
Reindie Sibeau, a support professional at the home, however, had a special relationship with Jessie. Over a two-year period, Reindie learned all behavior is communication. You see, Jessie was communicating in the way that he knew how, and in many cases, people couldn’t understand what he was trying to communicate. Thus, the frustration and escalation.
Reindie figured out how to better communicate and understand Jessie – how to address his needs, get him what he wanted, etc. Reindie could circumvent situations that undoubtably would have otherwise led Jessie to emotional distress. Reindie’s coping mechanisms weren’t 100 percent effective, but his approach dramatically reduced Jessie’s explosive outbursts and created more consistencies with his behavior.
In 2014, Bethesda considered selling the home which would relocate all of the residents. Knowing Jessie’s potential for frustration, support staff, including Reindie, knew a relocation would be a major disruption that could cause Jessie to digress to old behaviors.
Rather than relocate Jessie, an idea was presented to Bethesda to keep the home and rent it back to Reindie and his family. The new arrangement would allow Jessie to remain in the home and receive full-time care from the Sibeau family who would transition to becoming host home provider.
That was five years ago. Today, Jessie is thriving. The arrangement has provided him with the positive consistency he requires to lead his best life possible.
Reindie, his wife, Christina, their two children, Gabriel and Trinity, and even the family dog, Lucy, have all embraced their blended family, too. Christina especially takes a hands-on role with Jessie’s care. She developed a communication plan board that helps Jessie navigate his day-to-day activities and she regularly takes Jessie to community events and activities. The arrangement has worked so well, Reindie and Christina welcomed another person with intellectual and developmental disabilities to their home.
Bethesda is committed to providing the necessary resources to live full and empowered lives. If you have a big heart, like the Sibeau family, think about opening your home to a person with a disability. It will change your life.