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Friendships and Fulfillment in Shared Living

Making the move to Supported Independent Living has helped many NDIS participants achieve their personal goals and the recent move for Stephen has been incredibly beneficial and life-changing.

Stephen moved from a unit in Hornsby to one of Unisson’s shared living homes on the Central Coast in May last year and has been delighted with the outcomes for his lifestyle and general wellbeing.

“I enjoy trying new things and being with my new housemates,” says Stephen.

Since moving to the shared home, Stephen has experienced many positive changes, including improved mental health and the opportunity to form connections and friendships with other people living in the home.

As Stephen’s Direct Support Professional (DSP), Michelle Wares explains: “It’s been wonderful to see how Stephen’s anxiety has decreased. He enjoys trying new activities such as visiting the local horses to pet and feed them. He also walks independently to the local 7/11 store to purchase his newspaper and is more talkative and open in his conversations.”

One of the key differences for Stephen is his newfound confidence as he happily interacts with his housemates and having Unisson staff available 24 hours a day has also helped Stephen overcome his anxiety.

“What I enjoy most about living here is being supported,” says Stephen.

Stephen receives support that’s targeted to his specific needs and has also been able to explore health issues that have challenged him for years.

As Michelle explains: “Providing customised support makes a difference to Stephen as we encourage him to perform tasks on his own and he has become more confident in speaking up. Also, knowing he has staff around to talk to whenever he’s feeling anxious, makes him feel safe.”

Tiffany Rowe, Team Leader, Client Services at Unisson understands Stephen’s history and explains that Stephen knew when the time was right to transition to Supported Independent Living.

 “For most of Stephen’s adult life, he balanced day to day living with anxiety and achieved really great things such as his work for the Human Rights Commission. However, over time, Stephen’s general wellbeing was concerning for him and he struggled with sleep, regular eating and generally just being able to get out and about. Stephen decided it was time for a change and knew he needed to take it slow and steady.”

With the right support and a person-centred approach, Stephen is flourishing in his new home and he embraces all the opportunities that the day has to offer.

 “He is really eager to get out and about and get to know his new area,” says Tiffany.

The impact on Stephen’s quality of life outcomes has also been profound as Stephen has begun to make further progress toward achieving his goals and has been more open to pursuing new interests.

“Stephen has always been friendly and has already made some connections in his neighbourhood. His next plan is to reach out to the owners of some horses that live around the corner, as he visits them regularly and is keen to introduce himself,” explains Tiffany.

“Stephen’s story will continue as he tries different things and his confidence builds. He will have good days and bad days like all of us, but what is working best for him is that he is driving what he does, when he does it and what support he needs.” 

From Stephen’s new perspective, life now has many possibilities.  Adds Tiffany:

“Stephen’s confidence is building because he is taking care of his anxiety. He feels more secure and knows if he needs some help, it is there.”

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