A Thirst for Firsts
When Lyn needed accommodation urgently, initial options weren’t the best fit for her needs. But with support from Unisson, Lyn now has a place she can truly call home.
Living in her Unisson supported home in Fletcher makes Lyn Stokoe very happy as her initial experience of moving out of her family home to a supported living home with another disability service provider had been a bumpy ride.
As a child, Lyn attended a mainstream school where she became accomplished in reading and writing but, in other areas, her mild intellectual disability meant that she required additional support which, in the 1960s, wasn’t available. Instead, she was tasked with coaching younger children to the detriment of her own learning. By year six this learning gap had widened and, concerned about her wellbeing entering the secondary state system, Lyn’s parents withdrew her from school.
Lyn lived with her parents in a caravan park and, whilst she was happy, she had few opportunities to try new things or to make friends with people her own age. In later life, when Lyn’s mother died and her father went into palliative care, Lyn found that, in her early 60s, her protective upbringing hadn’t equipped her to live independently, although this was her goal.
Lyn moved into a supported Shared Living home on the Central Coast with another disability service provider but was uncomfortable with her living arrangements and struggled to progress her independent living skills.
Lyn’s cousin Geraldine contacted Unisson to find accommodation and support that better suited Lyn’s needs including her preference for an all-female household with fewer residents that was closer to family. Geraldine was reassured by Unisson’s person-centred active support approach and the time and attention taken to understand Lyn’s needs and match her to the right home, support staff and housemates.
Lyn now shares her new home with another female resident and one more will be joining them soon. Having time to make deeper connections with her support staff and housemates is important to Lyn. “I like that there are fewer people around me and I like talking to the staff,” she says.
“It felt like I was a part of a family,” said Lyn.
The NDIS has provided Lyn with opportunities to progress her social and independence goals and, with support from Unisson, she’s gaining the skills and confidence to live more independently and try new things.
Lyn has discovered a passion for baking and diamond dotz®, she attends social cooking and craft groups, her local church and she’s a Meals on Wheels volunteer. In the future, she plans to volunteer as a reader for the elderly and to go on another holiday with her direct support professional and Geraldine.
When she moved from her family home, Geraldine suggested that Lyn keep a record of her new experiences and achievements – Lyn calls this her “Book of firsts”. Some of Lyn’s firsts include making cupcakes, toasting marshmallows, having a cappuccino, using a sewing machine and going on a cruise. One of Lyn’s favourites was participating in a secret Santa at Geraldine’s house, which is now closer to her own home.
“It felt like I was a part of a family,” said Lyn. “I laughed a lot at the kids, as I have never been around children at Christmas.”
And by sharing her story, Lyn was happy to add “First time I’ve been in a photo shoot”.