Lenny at Beechwood Manor in New London is a success story. He is 60 years old, has significant cognitive limitations, other developmental delays and diabetes. He has been part of the program since TACAP was formed. He was in the Mansfield Training Center for most of his adolescence and early adulthood. After the center was closed he was moved from group home to group home and finally ended up at the nursing home because his diabetes was so difficult to manage. All of his family is deceased and Linda, his advocate, is his only connection with the world outside of the facility. Their relationship began three years ago when she saw an ad for our program and decided that she had time to volunteer and commit to someone like Lenny. It took a long time for the two of them to connect and bond. Lenny was quite reluctant to engage with people and did not easily trust. Linda was at a loss as to how she could connect with a mentally retarded adult who had been institutionalized for most of his life. But both of them hung in and tried and now there is a strong bond between them. She visits several times a month and calls him every week. She takes him out to eat, to go shopping and go to the movies. He invites her to come to the events at the nursing home like special lunches, parties, movie nights, and game nights. He loves movies so their favorite topic is talking about movies. With her assistance he has been elected to sit on the facility's patient advisory board. I am not sure what state Lenny would be in if he had not met Linda. She is his only outside visitor.
Marilyn, 72 years old, has been in three different nursing facilities in the last four years due to mental and physical disabilities. She has had the same advocate and has become very attached. Nancy, the advocate, has a calming effect on her and takes her on outings. They also make aprons together for other residents. This has given Marilyn the opportunity to interact and make friends with other residents. The staff so fond of Nancy that they asked if she would come more often. Marilyn is so much easier to handle because of her happiness when Nancy is there.
Thames Area Citizens Advocacy Program, Inc.
Building bridges between elderly people and the community
c/o Norwich Human Services
Norwich, CT. 06360 Telephone 860-373-0560 email TACAP coordinator