What can you get out of being a shared living provider?
The answer to that question depends on what you are looking for, says Deb Nelson, who, along with her husband, Brian, has been a shared living provider with Living Innovations for 16 years.
“We wanted to help someone and see that we were really making a difference,” says Deb, who once worked as a direct support professional (DSP) and is from Linneus, ME. “As a home provider, you get much more input helping your individual grow as a person because you get to know them. They become part of your family.”
The Nelson’s have been part of the Living Innovations’ team for 16 years. Brian is still working as a DSP.
Community Living Coordinator Angelina Jackman, who works in our Houlton, ME office, says Deb is a joy to work with.
“(Deb) just has an infectious personality. Her attitude is always positive, always upbeat. The bills could be piling up, and everything could be getting canceled, and she doesn’t worry about. She’ll say, ‘Tomorrow’s a new day. Everything is going to be fine.’ ‘’ says Angelina. “Her patience makes other people strive to be patient as well.”
One of the reasons why the Nelson’s decided to join the Living Innovations’ team is because they had been working for another human services agency and were dismayed at the way that organization interacted – and treated – the individuals they were supposed to be helping lead better lives.
Deb says the individual she and her husband shared their home with was initially a challenge. But now that person is a member of her family.
Asked if she has any advice she’d offer others interested in becoming shared living providers, Deb says communication is the key to a successful match.
“It’s not like you have someone who is a border (in your home),” she says. “You’ll find the magic words. They are human. You are human. You’ll know you are on the right path the first time you wake up and realize that that person is another member of your family.”
Putting people first. It’s what we all try to do, every day, at Living Innovations!