Deb Brock – Ralph’s Sister
My name is Deb Brock, I’m the sister of Ralph Sorensen who lived at the The Supported Life Style Hauraki Trust for around 24 years. Ralph was 27 years old, and had always lived at home with our Mum, when the existence of the Trust came to our awareness. Our mum had some resistance to Ralph going to live outside the family home, as he had previously had a bad experience while staying with another service provider. Ralph was asked if he would like to come into the Trust for a few nights, just to see if he liked it. He agreed, went for a few nights respite and from that point on he never looked back. Ralph absolutely loved living at the Trust. He was able to have a more complete and fulfilling life that we would have been able to provide for him at home. He made friends, and was well supported by staff to identify and achieve goals, both short term and long term. From a family member perspective both our Mum and myself really appreciated the level of care provided for Ralph while living at the Trust, and also that we were very much included in any developments, issues, and celebrations concerning Ralph. Ralphs health declined as he entered into his late 50’s. Through these difficult months he was loved, supported assisted and cared for by both his friends and the staff and management of the Trust. Through this supportive network Ralph was able to live until the end of his life, at his home at the Trust. I have endless gratitude to the people at THSLST for not only the amazing life they helped my brother to live, but also for the work they do for others with disabilities.
Michelle Taylor – Milly’s Mum
Melissa (Milly) moved into The Supported Life Style Hauraki Trust 3 years ago, after being an innocent victim of a car crash at the age of 21. Milly received life-threatening injuries, including a Severe Traumatic Brain Injury, severe optical nerve damage (resulting in significant loss of vision), loss of her pituitary function, leaving her on lifelong medications and risk of “Addisonian Crisis” (which is potentially fatal), damaged arteries (resulting in recent brain surgery), multiple facial fractures, broken humorous, broken ribs, broken pelvis, broken femur and mutilated hand and fingers.
Milly spent 10 weeks in Auckland Hospital’s Intensive Care and Neurological High Dependency Unit.
6 months at ABI Rehabilitation and 2 1/2 years at Laura Ferguson Rehabilitation in Auckland. Milly has undergone a huge and extremely challenging journey of recovery. With incredible determination and strong will (or stubbornness perhaps), Milly has made a miraculous recovery to date.
When Milly was ready to move on from a rehabilitation “facility”, we spent months looking for the right place for her to continue her journey. Only one place offered her exactly what she needed and that was THE SUPPORTED LIFE STYLE HAURAKI TRUST. Being able to live life as normally as possible within her abilities was so important for us. The Trust has offered us that, living as a “community within a community” the very necessary support and rehabilitation is given, while Milly can access “normal” community activities. The wonderful aspects of the Trust for us, have been the incredible atmosphere in The Café, where Life Stylers and Coaches get together over lunch and dinner, music playing in the background, the regular disco’s and seasonal Ball’s. The Trust as a whole does an amazing job and we feel very grateful to be a part of it. A high staff turn-over has presented some challenges as the relationship between coaches and Life Stylers is vital! With this issue being addressed at the moment, we are hopeful that going forward we will see consistency and stability.
Steve Lye – Ali’s Dad
The Trust has asked us to reflect on our Lye family journey since Ali joined the LTS. Our 31year old son, Ali, join LST 8 years ago. The Trust has proven to be a community of carefully selected staff & residents that collectively create a truly unique environment that makes a difference to ensure our loved ones live meaningful lives. As parents, we felt acutely aware that Ali will most likely outlive us & would require ongoing care. It was imperative to us that Ali would continue to feel loved, accepted, valued & nurtured while also supported to overcome his personal behavioural challenges & complex needs to persevere towards reaching ‘his’ potential, whatever that will be!
We had been searching for years to find a ‘forever’ home for Ali before we found a refreshing & creatively simple lifestyle that the Trust offers to residents based on an inclusive model mastered by Peter Rutherford. This model demonstrated commitment shown to each individual where this is evident in abundance at the Trust. The partnership with families, the personalised support, programs & specialist intervention, diversity that each resident brings is clearly valued and the active pursuit of their inclusiveness reflects in the bonds formed in relationships. Innovative solution-focused thinking is second nature whenever emerging obstacles need to be overcome & the encouragement of active partnerships that engage life-styler’s with their families & friends. We will be forever be grateful, as parents, for the LST partnership with families when compared with other care agencies we have researched & trialed. In Pete Rutherford’s words…… ‘the Trust is Club Med on a shoestring’ (as stated by Peter Rutherford at our initial interview) and we totally endorse this.
Ali arrived with a bucket load of complex behavioural problems where in the first few years his journey consisted of lots of trials and tribulations. The Trust stoically gained an understanding of Ali’s behaviours, mindsets and his need for consistency as sudden change can cause a problem. Ali has always had fantastic support at the coal face. With these carefully selected support workers Ali has, in recent years, achieved some amazing goals like; being awarded last year “life-styler of the year” which was totally deserved, being able to participate at special Olympics for the first time, loosing 30kg plus in weight, significantly reducing his mood stabilising medication which has allowed him to shine and having a paid job delivering the Hauraki Herald diligently every Friday. Ali now does not want to come home regularly and that is a hugely positive shift for us as parents.
After 8 years Ali now lives in a neat little house – a house Ali is proud of where it is furnished with things he has made at woodwork. We now have the confidence the Trust will meet Ali’s needs when one day we are not there. Our hope is the Trust maintains the philosophies set up by Peter Rutherford as his model has successfully allowed the Trust community to function well within the wider community of Thames.