Before moving into Chester and Ella, Jason lived in a group home – it was a time and place Jason and his family never want to re-live again. “It was a very stressful and challenging time for all of us. We had no say, no voice, it was a very controlling environment, the most disempowering model”. Constantly seeing him unhappy made the family feel so helpless. “Jason had no personality and at most, would only say a few words. In some ways when reflecting back to those dark times, it almost looked like Jason was depressed”.
Jason was being severally neglected in the group home, which detrimentally affected his health. There were so many challenges in the environment he was living in. Due to the incompatibility with the housemates, Jason often felt left aside, perhaps due to his quiet nature, but he was often left feeling neglected and with no autonomy. “There was no sense of empowerment…or family empowerment”. It got to the point where they weren’t letting Jason’s family visit him in a very implicit way, such as limiting visiting times and being very unaccommodating. “They weren’t making us feel welcome. They would use the excuse of others living there as a way of managing the household that was disempowering to Jason”.
Jason’s personal care was really poor. He endured unwitnessed falls which his family weren’t notified about. They could only watch on helplessly as Jason slowly deteriorated – weighing only a mere 39 kgs for a fully grown adult. “We want the optimal level of care for Jason and at a group home, you just don’t get that”. Above all this, “the biggest difficulty was the bricks and mortar were connected to Jason’s supports, so we couldn’t’ change the supports. However, SDA was able to give us the freedom to separate those two things”.
"Independent living has been so amazing for Jason…he has choice and control and more say for his life. The most important thing…he’s happy. His life is so good now…he’s enjoying every minute of it."
With Jessica’s professional background as an Occupational therapist, she was able to help navigate a way out for her brother. The family was initially anxious about the move for Jason, but once they showed him the apartment, he was beaming with happiness, curiosity and excitement – from that moment they knew it was the right decision for him.
Since moving into Chester & Ella, Jason is so much happier and healthier – “he’s improved in leaps and bounds”. He’s put on weight; is talking in full sentences and loves every opportunity he can get to go out and see the world and connect with others and the community. He loves people watching (and car watching) whilst sitting at his favourite local café across the road. There is so much joy now in Jason’s life and you can see it and sense it every time you see him. “Independent living has been so amazing for Jason…he has choice and control and more say for his life. The most important thing…he’s happy. His life is so good now…he’s enjoying every minute of it”.
Living at Chester and Ella has provided Jason the opportunity to build and strengthen his social connection with the community which has had an amazing effect on Jason’s mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. “He’s done more in the past year at Chester and Ella than he has done in the past 8 years. He loves the environment, the accessibility and the shared community spaces”. It was also through these communal spaces where Jason struck up a friendship with a fellow tenant. When time permits, they now play Bocce together whilst their mum’s catch up over a cup of coffee.
Jason has been enjoying baking and cooking more with his support staff and his next goal is to get a dog because “he would love the companionship”.
“Jason interacts like an adult now. We don’t treat him like a child anymore…he’s his own person now. It’s been great to see him being in an environment that is conducive to his growth – growth that we didn’t know he was capable of”.
Jason – QLD tenant, with Jessica (sister) and parents (George and Alice)