Alfred, Matena, Kingi and Graeme are enjoying the freedom of flatting since moving out of a residential service last year.
From left, Alfred, Matena, Kingi and Graeme in their flat.
The men have chosen to live together as part of the Ministry of Health’s Choice in Community Living (CiCL) demonstration. They found out about CiCL through IDEA Services, where they attend a vocational service.
The house the men live in used to be a residential service, where Graeme and Matena lived with other residents. Kingi and Alfred moved in as flatmates because the men had met each other at the vocational service and they each wanted to go flatting.
Alfred, Matena, Kingi and Graeme pride themselves on their clean and tidy pad, and regular flat meetings ensure everyone knows when they are cooking and cleaning.
They have arranged for staff to visit in the evenings and during the weekends, and initially had staff there in the mornings as well.
Graeme has a fulltime job on a dairy farm milking 500 cows. He says he loves farming and working. He drives his own car and says flatting is all about freedom, independence and being able to choose what he does and when he does it. ‘I can watch television when I want, go to bed when I want.’
Kate from IDEA Services has been working for Alfred, Matena, Kingi and Graeme since January 2014 but has known them for several years.
Kate says Kingi has made leaps and bounds since he started flatting, particularly in making choices and with his communication and organisational skills.
‘He lived in residential care so when he first started flatting with the guys he was used to routines and having to go places. Now he can decide if he wants to or not.’
On weekdays Kingi attends IDEA Services' vocational service, where he grows vegetables for the local food bank.
A major step that will be coming up for him is going with Kate to the bank to get his own cash flow card.
Alfred says he loves cooking and he is very house proud. He enjoys being independent and loves being out and about. ‘Flatting is so good. All of my friends are here and I love playing golf when I want to.’
Alfred is a local Maori warden and has car washing and lawn mowing businesses. He also loves technology: ‘I have a mobile phone and I’ve also just bought a new tablet.’
Matena is enjoying the independence of being in a flat and the ‘peace and quiet’.
He cleans the local vet’s cars – sometimes as many as five – and contracts himself for seven hours a week to The Warehouse. ‘I make sure the grounds are tidy and look great,’ he says.
He was named employee of the month in December and he loves going to have lunch with the staff once a week.
Matena, Kingi and Graeme all belong to their local club and enjoy playing pool and indoor bowls.
Kate says she really enjoys working with the men and seeing how they have changed. ‘We are there to support people, chat to them about what they'd like to do and assist them to live independently as an important part of their community.'
The men control the staff hours and how the services run. 'We work flexible hours, so when Kingi said he wanted to make pancakes for Sunday brunch, I changed my hours so I could be there,' Kate says.
Choice in Community Living is part of the Ministry of Health’s New Model for Supporting Disabled People. It offers eligible disabled people the opportunity to move out of their family home or a residential facility and into their own home. It also offers choice and control of how people are supported in their own home and community.