Today I left work early to meet Fiona for lunch at the new home where she will be living . The date of the move is still up in the air but it is close enough that the transition has to start, so that Fi is as prepared as possible for the change.
The home is about 20 minutes tops from our house. It is hard for me to know exactly how far as I got lost the first time! But once I know where I am going, i greatly suspect it will be a quick little commute. It is a lovely home, with 5 spacious bedrooms. Each resident has their own room. The rooms are big enough for double beds, so when I say spacious, they are probably 2 1/2 times the size of her room now. This may be great and may not be. She has a hard time keeping her space ordered, but she loved the double bed (which really did look inviting and comfy.
The plusses that I see are: all the occupants are female. Fiona has some issues around men and although she wants a boyfriend at some point, she is also frightened by anything she deems inappropriate from a male. Fright for her leads to disregulation and PTSD so it is something I am looking to avoid.
There is lots of space in this house. The program intentionally planned this way so that the residents could get away from each other and take space when the need arose.
The program agrees that Fiona does best with a high level of structure and their plan is to have her enrolled in a structured day program that focuses on lots of crafts as well as job skill stuff Monday through Fridays. The other plus to this is then she is around an even wider circle of people and may make additional friends among the other people there.
Family are welcome to visit almost anytime. Fiona is welcome to come here to visit almost any time.
There is a focus on teaching Fiona that she is an adult now and as such, has a responsibility and privilege of making some decisions on her own. This is good. Fi truly is very unable to handle unstructured time at all at present. It would be good to work toward a level of comfort for her around that. Also for feeling comfortable advocating for what she likes to do.
There is a gorgeous deck for cookouts.
There is not much around if she managed to get past the locked door in a raging episode.
The residents can decorate their rooms as they wish.
One of the 5 residents is black as is the program director.
Fiona seemed to make positive early friendship connections with two of the residents in the home. One was H, the young black girl. They started talking about ways to do hair and seem to want to do each others hair.
Some things that concern me:
There is no time out space. Typically Fiona does best in a space that has no stimulation where she can roll around, punch bean bags and pillows and scream out her anger. They apparently used to have one and want to make it into a craft room.
The reward system they have in place is a bit complex and I suspect I may find myself advocating for modifications as Fiona has a very limited ability for retention of such things and really no ability at all to think into the future.
There does not seem to be a nurse in residence. I am not sure whether that is something I should worry about or not. Fi takes some powerful meds. However obviously I administer them when she is here. I guess if staff are trained to make sure that the timing is not messed with, it is fine.
That's it for concerns--the plusses thus far totally outweigh my worries. And what mom doesn't always find a few things to worry about?
For now, she seems happy at the idea of the move. That changes daily as change itself is a huge de-stabilizer for her. But she will visit again the day before thanksgiving and then I will pick her up and bring her back home for the holiday. I am hoping that also when she sees that she is so physically close to us that this too will help her.