Paul Lemieux is family liaison for Mainstay Supportive Housing. This series explores different topics related to finding the right supportive housing for your loved one with intellectual or developmental disabilities. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
When people are looking for a supportive home for their loved one, what are some of the top things you advise that they look for?
When somebody is looking for housing, there are three options available to them: they can live in a group home that is state funded and operated; live with a family caregiver; or live independently or with roommates, that’s where Mainstay falls.
Mainstay residents are 22 years old, or older, and looking to live as independently as possible.
The biggest factor families need to consider is where their loved one is on the scale of being able live independently. How many services do they need? What is the level of support they need?
We are talking about someone mostly living independently, correct?
Correct. I liken this to someone going to college. They are going to be on their own. They are going to be making decisions. Someone is not going to be handing them their medication; they may get a reminder. That is what Mainstay provides, somebody there to remind the person that they need to do something.
How else does the staff inside a Mainstay Supportive Home assist in the resident’s life?
We have two live-ins, people who live in apartments in the building. Those people are there at night. They will do, for example, a bed check. In the morning, they make sure people are up and they get going to their job or a volunteer position. In the morning, there might be somebody there to guide people through breakfast, not to make breakfast but to make sure residents are eating. At night, there might be somebody there to greet people as they come back. The staff helps make a group dinner. We are not there during the day to entertain. It’s independent living with basic support.