Walking Side by Side Through the Seasons of Change

Walking Side by Side Through the Seasons of Change

Andy’s journey with Hammer & NER

Many people who live in our apartment programs and are used to living more independently are now “dancing a bit slower” as they age. When their health needs become more complex, the reality is that they will need to move to a group home where they can receive a higher level of care including assistance with bathing, dressing, eating, and mobility from trained professionals who can care for their medical needs, too.

Andy and Katie

Our friend, Andy, is one of those individuals. Andy and his best friend, Chris, moved into our Broadmoor apartment program in 2008. That’s where Andy met his girlfriend, Katie. When (then) Hammer opened its Lake Place apartment program in 2010, they and a few others moved there. Andy made more new friends. He had a job he enjoyed at Panera. He loved participating in Special Olympics and watching wrestling matches with Chris. Andy was living life to its fullest.

However, as for many of us, life dramatically changed for Andy during COVID-19. Fred and Marcia are his parents and have always been involved in his life at Hammer & NER. “Suddenly, there was nothing for Andy to do,” says Marcia. Andy could no longer go to his job or a day program and was mostly confined to his apartment. “We know that people with Down syndrome don’t always take to change quickly. We went over almost every day and would walk with him and spend time with him.” Over time, Andy’s family and the staff at Lake Place began noticing cognitive changes in him. He was becoming more forgetful. He had always had heart issues, but they were well managed. However, now there were some new concerns. Andy also developed neurological issues and underwent extensive testing. “We were told it was likely Alzheimer’s,” says Marcia. “He was going to need a lot more support.” Andy began spending more time at home with Fred and Marcia.

Andy loves watching professional wrestling

“The care he receives at Broadway is phenomenal,” Marcia says. “The sad thing is that the whole disability providers community is under so much pressure. So many needs are not being met; there aren’t enough places, not enough staff. We feel blessed that everything worked out for Andy. My heart aches because I know that doesn’t happen for everyone. All these kids are aging, and their parents are wondering, now what? We’re thankful we didn’t have to switch away from Hammer & NER. Our son has had an absolutely wonderful life.”

Today, Andy is in a wheelchair and is heavily dependent on his caregivers at Broadway.

We are working to do all we can to meet the needs of Andy and all the people we support as they age. We are modifying and remodeling more of our homes to accommodate changing needs. We are providing advanced training to our direct support staff to not only help them care for more complex medical needs, but to better understand the cognitive and emotional issues for people with intellectual disabilities as they age.

We remain committed to continuing to help all those we support live life to its fullest.

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1 Comment

  1. Greg Heiland

    Andy me and Chris were really close friends at Hammer Bowling
    and I hope Andy all the best and I will pray for him
    and he has great parents and I hope to see Andy at bowling



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