From dancing and acting to just spending time with “the guys”, Jeff Kaiser is a man of many interests.
Despite a developmental disability, he’s living safely, successfully, and independently, thanks to Aspire’s innovative Life On My Own (LOMO) program. Considering that he’s only been on his own for a short time, Jeff’s made significant progress. Until recently, Jeff lived with his parents.
The question of “what to do next” came up in 2014, after Jeff’s dad passed away, the family house was sold, and his mother, who passed away this year, moved into a nursing home. Jeff’s siblings wanted to be sure he was safe, so, after helping him move into an apartment, they contacted Aspire for support with his newly independent lifestyle. Their timing couldn’t have been better. Aspire had just launched LOMO, a unique independent living program helping adults with disabilities ages 18 and up lead completely independent lives in their own house or apartment in the community of their choice. “We start by assessing each participant to determine what skills they need to learn to succeed and be safe,” said Bridget Oliveri, Aspire’s Associate Director of Life On My Own. “We then design a curriculum that we know can help them reach their goals.”
In their assessment, Aspire Living team members determined that Jeff needed to improve his cooking and financial planning skills. Sessions focused on these and other skills take place at Jeff’s apartment. Once he mastered these skills, Jeff moved on to others, such as learning how to identify his own values and beliefs and develop healthy relationships. To reinforce his financial skills, he continues talking to Aspire life coaches about his monthly budget and spending habits. Jeff is proud to say that he’s now excellent at budgeting. Jeff and his siblings are pleased with how much he’s grown over the past two years. “Aspire helps you learn what you need to know, so you can do it yourself,” said Jeff, who now uses skills he gained with Aspire to help his friends, often recommending that they participate in LOMO.