Markus fell in love with his own apartment

adapted housingOur son Markus, born in 1982, has an intellectual and developmental disability of unknown origin. The physicians in the section of medical genetics, University Hospital in Oslo, have told us that the tests so far have not given any results, but he  most likely has a rare chromosome disorder.

When Markus was 28 years old he moved into his own apartment as a part of a group home. The group home includes six residents, each living in their own apartment. The home also includes a larger apartment used for social activities, such as daily dinner and accommodation for the staff. The residents own their apartments through special loans and grants from the Norwegian Housing Bank.

We have always been a close family, us as his parents, and with his sister. As Markus was 28 when he moved, we thought that we were well prepared and ready to let a professional staff take care of him and his special needs. But we were in for a bit of a shock over the emptiness in the house and the loss of many  activities connected to the daily care for Markus. Markus, for his part, loved his apartment and the staff, employed by the municipality, are trained and interested in doing their best to support Markus and his neighbours in managing their lives.

The most important part of finding a home for Markus was creating a group home where the residents own their home and pay the mortgage with their pension.  It assures us to know that nobody can move him somewhere else and he can stay as long as he wants.  As Markus quickly fell in love with his own apartment, enjoying creating his own home was both a surprise and a relief. We understood that he had been ready to move away from his home for some time, which is natural for young people, but he was not able to communicate this to us.  Being in a group home is a solution that gives Markus the possibility to live in his own apartment while at the same time he has the access to the large apartment when he wants some company. It is also reassuring for us to know that the staff is there day and night.

Markus has been living in the group home for two years and we feel that this is the best solution for him and for us, as his parents. As the group home is situated close to our apartment we can visit him whenever it suits him or us.  During the week, Markus is occupied with his work (a sheltered work place) and other activities. The arrangements connected to his daily routine are taken care of by the staff at the group home and Markus is not very keen that we should be involved in this routine any more. We have also learned that he is still developing and learning new tasks inspired by a professional staff. For instance has he learned to travel by the metro on his own to his work place. I never thought that would be possible. Luckily he lives close to a metro station and do not need to change the metro line.

The most important issue for us as his parents is that Markus is living in safe surroundings with a professional staff to assist him. Living in a group home also gives him  the possibility for a social life with his neighbours, as he is not able to find friends by himself. The group home is situated in an ordinary apartment building. This has not caused any problems but is rather a successful result of integration of people with a rare disorder in our society.

Lisen, mother of Markus (30), living with a developmental disability of unknown origin, attending an Adapted Housing Service (Group Home), Norway

Page created: 19/09/2012
Page last updated: 02/07/2013
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