By Rachel Brown
Helen is an 80-year-old woman who lives with seven other ladies in an ADEC group home in Bristol. Helen attends day programming at our Bristol campus, where she paints, makes cards, sews and works with photography. She is a fiery woman who is fiercely loyal and quite attached to her long-term staff, in particular, her house manager Stacey Stewart. Stacey has worked with Helen for nearly 20 years.
When Helen first came to ADEC programming she did not talk, she only pointed to things she wanted or needed and grunted. Through some interactive communication programs that Stacey and her team implemented, Helen is now able to talk! What a glorious day that was when Helen was actually able to voice her wants instead of just pointing and making noises. She was in her 60s when she spoke for the first time. Her first words? Of course, in keeping with her fiery spirit, she uttered a command, “Stewart, coffee!” She hasn’t stopped talking since. What a success story this is for Helen, as well as for Stacey and her staff.
Helen’s staff also has advocated for her in other ways. When Helen was diagnosed with cataracts, her optometrist did not want to operate because he did not think she would let anyone put the required eye drops in her eyes three times a day. Stacey, however, felt differently and sought out a second opinion for Helen. The second optometrist agreed that Helen was a good candidate for cataract surgery. So after years of not seeing well and being almost blind, Helen had one of her cataracts removed. And guess what? She can see so much better and is complying with the eye drops needed! She has done so well with the first operation, the optometrist may even remove the cataracts from her other eye, a surgery he had not intended to do originally.
Helen is truly a remarkable woman, and with supports from her ADEC staff, she is able to reach even more of her unlimited potential.