For 15 years, Randal lived in institutional care. The thing is, he really didn’t need to.
When Randal got to Maitri last year, we were surprised by how independent he was. He took exceptional care of his room at our residential care facility in the Castro District, he was always on time to doctor appointments – he rarely needed us.
Somehow, for 15 years, no one noticed that Randal could make it on his own.
The danger of institutionalization is that it operates by closing off options, which is what sets Maitri apart. From intake to discharge, we explored options with Randal at every turn, always pointing him to the possibility that he could live on his own. Every day Randal worked toward the goal of independence with our interdisciplinary team of social work case managers, nurses, mental health practitioners and our BRANCH Aftercare staff.
By working with clients on their own goals toward autonomy, we can prevent the “learned helplessness” that creeps in while being in institutions for too long – the feeling of not having any control over your destiny, so you relinquish all control to the institution you are in.
Randal has his days. There are times when taking care of himself is overwhelming. But he and all of our BRANCH Aftercare patients know they can come back to Maitri to see friends, to join group therapy, to celebrate holidays, to eat nutritious meals. or to come win prizes at our rowdy BINGO nights. Randal also gets phone calls and visits from Maitri staff and volunteers who care deeply about him.
“It’s just sitting down with someone and saying, yes, this is scary,” says BRANCH Aftercare Coordinator David Valentine. “Talking to people helps them see that their life is manageable.”
At Maitri, being independent does not mean being alone. Our clients know they are supported because community members like you make sure they know.
You show up for clients when they need a hand to hold, you help us run BINGO nights and you shower them with gifts during holiday season. At Maitri, no one suffers, transitions or dies alone.