Being a Host Home Provider Is a Life-Fulfilling Role
A growing number of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) want more personalized services in a smaller setting. Recent data shows 24/7 shared living services often improve people’s physical health, bring greater mental and emotional wellbeing, offer more enriching relationships and give them more choices for where they live and with whom.
All of these happen through Mosaic at HomeⓇ, Mosaic’s host home support service, which is one of its most popular and growing support service lines.
Through this service, the person with IDD shares a home with a Mosaic independent host home provider who helps the person become an active member of the household and the greater community.
To meet the growing desire for shared living services, Mosaic is expanding Mosaic at Home in states where regulations allow it.
Debbie Reynolds serves 72 year-old Dorothy Timmons and 46 year-old Erin Williams in her home. Debbie said one can physically see how both women’s lives have positively changed from when they began living with her: Dorothy moved in with Debbie in 2017, and Erin joined the household one year later.
Clockwise from left: Erin, Debbie’s fiance Kenneth, Debbie and Dorothy
“I knew Dorothy before she moved in, and during that time, she often expressed she wanted to live with me,” said Debbie. “She was only 8 when she was placed in an institution, and she wasn’t released until the 1980s.
“Dorothy’s first pleasure trip with me after she moved in, she and I went on a driving vacation to Colorado Springs; I wanted to give her that experience. She kept asking me, ‘are we going to Norton? Are we going to Parsons?’ I didn’t understand why she was asking these questions until it dawned on me she probably only rode in a car with her suitcase and her medications when she was being transferred to another institution,” said Debbie.
“Dorothy was entirely dependent and in a wheelchair when she came to live with me,” according to Debbie. “I got an occupational therapist to work with her to get her out of that wheelchair into a walker for increased mobility. She loves the weekday Mosaic seniors day services program, now that she can participate in most of their activities such as working on arts and crafts, shopping, going out to eat (Mexican food is her favorite) and making destination day trips.”
Like Dorothy, Debbie knew Erin before she moved in with her. Beforehand, Debbie said Erin was diagnosed with depression. She would sleep in her room most of the day and didn’t want to secure a job, for which she was truly capable. Her self-care was lacking as well.
“When Erin moved in, she had a big knot of hair on the back of her head—she never combed it. I thought it was a manifestation of her depression in not wanting to take care of herself,” according to Debbie. “I booked an appointment for her at a salon, and she loved it so much she saves up five dollars a week in order to see the same stylist every six!”
Debbie said Erin has also blossomed into a bit of a social butterfly.
“Being in a host home, she gets a lot of freedom, and she can handle it. She wants to be ‘normal.’
“Erin has held jobs in our area, but unfortunately, her recent Parkinson’s diagnosis has impeded her from working. But, she still gets out. In addition to going to Mosaic’s day services workshop, Erin has become part of the community. She can independently walk wherever she wants, such as to Walgreens and McDonald’s, and I take her shopping on the occasional weekend. She has her friends and manages her budget. She also loves technology,” said Debbie.
“If she really wants to learn something, she will figure it out,” according to Debbie. “Being in a Mosaic at Home host residence gives her a lot of freedoms, and she can handle them.”
“For those considering to be a Mosaic host home provider, you must be committed,” said Debbie. “Like any caregiver position, it sometimes can be a thankless job. But, it’s very life-fulfilling: You are making a difference in that person’s life and giving them experiences they never had or probably would never have had.”