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Supporting a New Lease on Life

Peter's Story

"I feel much better than I have in all my life!” From 20 years in institutional accommodation to confidence, employment and a new-found happiness.

Peter was building a promising career and had worked his way up to become manager of a coffee distribution factory until, in his 20s, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Help at this key moment could have made all the difference to Peter but supported independent living services were only available to people with an intellectual disability. 

Peter’s only option was institutionally run boarding houses which had little privacy, shared bedrooms, no choice of what and when to eat and strict routines. 

Peter found the behaviour of some of the people he shared with to be disturbing and the attitudes of some of the staff to be demoralising. But most disappointing was that there was no opportunity to go out into the community. The 60 residents would spend their days sleeping, eating and smoking. Peter likens it to “jail”.

When the NDIS scheme provided him with more options, Peter chose Unisson to support him on his journey to independence.

After over 20 years in institutional accommodation, Peter’s biggest challenge wasn’t his schizophrenia, which was managed by medication, it was his diminished self-confidence and independence. In 2018, Peter moved into one of Unisson’s shared Supported Independent Living homes and work began to support him to rebuild his independence using a respectful, person-centred, active support approach.

Once settled into his new home, and as his confidence began to grow, Peter was supported to return to work and he now works part-time in a local café. He notes the coincidence of the coffee connection with amusement, working with coffee as a young man and now again later in life.

These days, Peter’s life is very different. He does his own shopping, chooses what he wants to eat and cooks it himself. He has opened his own bank account and pays his own bills. And he decides how he spends his time, like going to the gym and doing the things he enjoys.

Just a few years ago Peter’s life was incomparable, but with support from Unisson, this friendly, humble man has regained his confidence, independence and love of life.