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  • A Communal Living Space For People With Disabilities

    Posted by kevin-schaefer on March 22, 2019 at 7:00 am

    Ok, so this is just kind of a pipe dream that I’ve been sitting on for a while, but I am talking about it with an SMA friend later today. I have this idea for an apartment complex or some kind of living space where people with disabilities could live.

    Personally, my dream lifestyle is not to have a wife, kids, and a house of my own. I would like to get married eventually, but the idea of managing a house doesn’t really appeal to me personally. It’s the more traditional path that a lot of people go for, but it’s just not me.

    For me, I want to be around people, and in a more communal atmosphere. Working from home is isolating enough, but the idea of just living on my own sounds even more lonely. It works for a lot of people, and that’s great, but I’m working on a different plan for my future. I’m fortunate to have a good setup where I can live at home with my parents, and I have a strong team of caregivers with me throughout the week. My parents don’t have to do nearly as much for me as they used to, but they still take care of me some. I know I can’t keep my living situation the way it is forever.

    Plus, I have a ton of friends with SMA and other disabilities who are in worse situations than I am. I have a friend who has to move back in with her parents because she can’t afford to be on her own, and she’s even on disability. Then there are others who don’t get any outside care or anything. I’m trying to think of a solution that goes beyond just meeting my needs.

    Again, it’s just an idea at this point, but I’m giving it serious thought. I have a business friend who I’m going to talk to as well. My idea would be to have several caregivers there at the complex at all times, with rotating shifts. Then a portion of residents’ rent would go toward paying caregivers. Then we’d have rooms for everyone, and sort of a shared living room space with a kitchen, and maybe a bar. My dream look for this place stems from the clubhouse in Sons of Anarchy lol. There could also be a recreational room, and maybe an indoor, accessible pool. When I dream, I dream big.

    I know I’m just spitballing ideas right now and trying to gauge interest from friends, but it’s something I’m going to really strive for. What do you all think?

    kevin-schaefer replied 5 years, 1 month ago 9 Members · 16 Replies
  • 16 Replies
  • ryan-berhar

    March 22, 2019 at 10:31 pm

    My goal is to get my own place, but definitely an interesting idea.

    • kevin-schaefer

      March 24, 2019 at 6:24 pm

      Thanks! Yeah, I recognize that it won’t be for everyone, but I’ve got a few people so far who are interested.

  • lupa-f

    March 23, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    There is (or maybe was) a place like that near Chicago. When I was considering moving a few years ago, I talked to them at the Abilities Expo, but I can’t remember what the name of it was and it doesn’t seem like they’re on the exhibitor’s list for this year’s expo. The big thing for me that ruled it out was that for “rent” they’d take all your income for the month, regardless of how much, they would provide food and pay the bills, and then give you a $200 stipend per month for spending money. I make a decent amount of money so that would have never worked for me, it was definitely designed for low incomes, but it was interesting to consider.

    If I can find the brochures they gave me I’ll try to update.

    • kevin-schaefer

      March 24, 2019 at 6:26 pm

      Thanks! Yeah I’m trying to make it to the AbilitiesExpo at some point. My parents and I went when I was really young, but I don’t remember it. I’ll keep this in mind though.

  • halsey-blocher

    March 23, 2019 at 9:55 pm

    It’s nit something I would personally sign up for because I do hope to have a home and large family, but it is a very interesting idea that I can see appealing to a lot of people. I really like the swimming pool idea! Just make sure it’s a heated pool. My one worry is that it could end up becoming like a nursing home or group home  if you’re not careful. You’d have to monitor it closely to make sure it keeps that community feel as opposed to depressing place for sick people.

    • kevin-schaefer

      March 24, 2019 at 6:30 pm

      Thanks Halsey! Great point. Yeah, it’s definitely something I’ve thought about and that I want to avoid. My vision is to gear it toward college students and young professionals, with a community atmosphere to it. There are a handful of universities that have dorm buildings like this, but they’re few and far between.

      Thanks everyone for your input! I had a good conversation with my friend Abby the other night about this, and we’re working on getting some other people interested. It’ll be a long term project for sure, but I’m feeling motivated about it.

  • deann-r

    March 25, 2019 at 11:51 am

    When I was in college I lived in an apartment complex that gave priority to individuals with disabilities. Because of this the apartment setup was great with an open concept, wide doors, lower counters, roll-in shower and other useful features. Although I went through an agency at the time, many of my PCA’s also worked with other tenants. It was great because there was such a variety of tenants, and we each had as much independence as we chose.

    Although I like your concept, I think even though there’d be caregivers on site it would still be tricky working around schedules and such.

    • kevin-schaefer

      March 25, 2019 at 1:15 pm

      That’s the kind of vibe I have in mind, and I wish more universities would offer something like this.

      Thanks for bringing up the caregiver point as well. While I’m still in the conceptual/planning stage, I’m trying to think of every potential problem in advance. The caregiver setup will involve the most work and logistical planning. Thanks!

  • kelly-miller

    March 26, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    I think it’s a fantastic idea! I would totally live there. Would each person have their own living space or just something like a bedroom? I think it would be better to have separate living spaces so everyone could hang by themselves if they wanted to or have friends over and not bother others. You also want to be able to be in your space when you’re sick or something without getting anyone else infected.

    Another question I have is about couples. Would you allow couples (the disabled person with a significant other) to live there? I think my husband would totally go for it because he knows I am a people person, and I could just go hang out in the community space. But, he would have to be able to get off by himself in our own separate area. He also wouldn’t mind helping out somebody else who lives there to do minor things. I know it would make him feel better about leaving me alone when he goes somewhere.

    What about where it would be? Someplace warm I hope! I don’t think there would be any negative feedback for you to want to put it say… in some type of tropical weather area. Ha ha, well I mean not too hot, but not too cold either. You got me thinking about all this Kevin! Let us know any updates and if we can help you do anything!

    • kevin-schaefer

      March 27, 2019 at 10:40 am

      Thanks Kelly!

      My vision for it is definitely for people to have their own rooms, and then there would be community spaces where people could hang out. And yes, couples would absolutely be welcome.

      Location wise, if I get this going I’ll start it here in North Carolina. But really, the possibilities for this go beyond that. I’m just kind of getting it started at the conceptual level, and talking with people about it. Thanks for your interest!

  • adnan-hafizovic

    March 27, 2019 at 7:59 am

    It is best to live in own home with an adequate number of caregivers, but it takes a lot of money. Nursing Homes are one of the solutions, although many in Europe, for example, leave t house to someone and that perso take care about him until the end of his life.

    • kevin-schaefer

      March 27, 2019 at 10:43 am

      Thanks Adnan. Yeah, I don’t want this to be a nursing home though. Like I said, I want this to be for adults who want to live independently, work, etc.

  • pamela-muhammad

    March 27, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    Sounds great for those that like company, to socialize etc. I’m a more private person. But best wishes. 😊

  • patrick-lenihan

    March 28, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    Kevin what you are describing is similar to Cohousing. Couhousing is an intentional community that emphasizes and values interdependence and diversity of community. While Cohousing communities are not exclusively targeted to those with disabilities, they welcome a diverse range of abilities, ages, cultures etc… .   Check out the Cohousing Association of the United States webpage. Also check out the webpages for the National Council on Independent Living and the Disability Community Resource Center.

    • kevin-schaefer

      March 28, 2019 at 2:54 pm

      I’ll check this out. Thanks Patrick!

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