12/31/2018 by Kellyann Pascarella
Each year over 1,000 individuals with Autism age out of residential schools in New York and are in need of placement. In addition the list grows by the thousands as aging parents look for placement. Here is just one of the many stories.
Until November of 2018, Gina had lived at home with her mother in the Hudson Valley. Her mother tried her very best, yet struggled to care for her daughter and provide all the supports she required. Gina could be combative when it came to her own self-care and often refused medical treatment. She was often lying on the ground refusing help to get into her wheelchair.
It was late October when Gina’s mother’s worst fears came true. Her mother was suddenly and unexpectedly hospitalized, leaving Gina alone with no one to care for her. Emergency respite placement was found, however this home was not wheelchair accessible. Gina was unable to leave the home without being carried up and down multiple flights of stairs. She was unhappy and angry about her situation and became even more resistant to care and treatment.
Unfortunately, her mother’s prognosis was very poor, and Gina needed both an immediate place that was wheelchair accessible, as well as a long-term place to call home. Greystone learned of Gina’s situation and swiftly stepped in to assist. We welcomed Gina to our home in Wappingers Falls in the middle of November. She quickly became comfortable with her housemates. On her first night there, she chose to join a few of her new friends at a rehearsal for the holiday extravaganza scheduled for December.
Sadly, Gina’s mother passed on Thanksgiving evening. Everyone that knew her mother felt she held on until she knew Gina was safe and well cared for. It was a sad day for Gina, but she had prepared as best as she could for this day with the help of the experienced and compassionate staff who now have become, in Gina’s words, "my family". Music and art therapy helped her to release her sadness at the loss of her mother and allowed her to find her inner strength. Gina has blossomed in the short time in her new home, with her new "family" and friends. Lots of tears were shed the night she sang her solo at Greystone’s Holiday Extravaganza on December 20th.
Greystone provided Gina with the opportunity to find quite possibly her forever home. Your generosity towards Greystone allows us to continue to support Gina and many others.
As we start the New Year, we look back on the last year with appreciation for so many whose lives we have been able to impact throughout the Hudson Valley. Gina is one person we were glad to assist, and someone whose resolve has touched us. It is because of you, and your generous contributions have been able to help so many people in our community.
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