About the Program
The G.R.O.W. Supported Independent Living Program focuses on providing residential support hours to program participants living semi-independently in the community (i.e. with moderate supports). Unlike respite hours, where the focus is on creating space for families and caregivers in order to optimally maintain these primary relationships, SIL hours have purposeful objectives aimed at enhancing skill development and providing assistance in identified areas of need. For each session (approximately 3 hours in the evening) there will be a targeted learning objective and/or support outcome with the broader intent of maximizing independence over time. The number of support hours will depend on the individual's needs.
Supported Independent Living is currently only open to G.R.O.W. Participants.
Each participant works through an individualized application of the SIL learning modules in his or her home. One-to-one work is implemented using an experiential learning and strengths-based lens. Learning modules include:
Memory, orientation and time management in the living space
Memory, orientation and time management include being able to tell time, keep track of personal schedules including managing appointments and commitments, and a variety of other daily living tasks that require memory. Depending on the unique strengths and abilities of the individual, the living space will often be adapted to include key resources such as calendars, reminders, alarms, checklists, and meal plans.
Meal Planning, grocery shopping and meal preparation
Food skills include everything from being able to create a meal plan that incorporates healthy balanced meals, to portion control, grocery shopping and safety in the kitchen. Depending on the support needs of the individual, facilitators may provide assistance in developing a weekly meal plan, accompanying participants to the grocery store, putting groceries away, cooking, baking, cleaning, using kitchen appliances, ordering food, and managing a food budget.
Money management support may range from advanced budgeting to safety with money, basic money handling and planning, checking in with spending, exploring wants vs. needs, and knowing when to ask for help. Facilitators assist participants in organizing day-to-day finances while supporting broader skills around spending awareness such as exploring deals or sales and engaging in price comparison while shopping.
Cleaning, laundry, and other home management routines are often developed to match the individual's schedule and unique living space. Education and/or assistance in this area includes common everyday home maintenance problems such as changing a light bulb, unplugging the toilet, knowing when professional assistance is needed and how to go about getting repairs done. Other topics may be explored such as home security, safety, and managing locks and keys.
Some individuals may be provided with transportation to and from specific events in the community, while others may be focusing on using public transportation or accessing pedestrian routes. Facilitators assist with learning local pedestrian routes, pedestrian safety, functional reading related to community mobility, taking the city bus, emergency procedures when lost in the community, and time management in the context of community outings among others.
Health and safety
Health and safety in the living space encompasses many topics including basic first aid, identifying and managing emergency situations, tracking changes in personal health status, maintaining health through self-care activities, making healthy lifestyle choices, and accessing community resources for health.
Leisure planning and managing social networks
Being an active community member is part of the G.R.O.W. Program’s mission and vision. Some individuals may benefit from assistance and/or learning related to accessing community resources for leisure and socialization. Participants may wish to explore leisure opportunities, skills or hobbies unique to their surrounding community or living space. Supporting social engagement and maintenance of a strong social support network is a common focus. Depending on the individual, this may include activities such as planning social engagements or accessing local recreational programs and facilities.
Technology is increasingly becoming important in day-to-day living activities. Participants may benefit from assistance and education around using technology safely and effectively in the living space. Education may focus on operational considerations such as safety during use, how to charge, how to care for technologies to support longevity, and how to use specific features that may optimize independence. Other areas of assistance and learning may relate to broader safety considerations such as managing privacy and protecting personal information when navigating the internet.
S.I.L. Program Staff
G.R.O.W. Supported Independent Living is staffed by over 14 educated facilitators. The Program is overseen by the SIL Coordinator and the Executive Director.