As the parent, sibling, caregiver or loved one of someone on the spectrum our days and night are filled with questions. And these are just a sampling of the questions that run through our minds every hour of every day of our lives. For simplicity purposes I am going to call our loved one Tony. (Please, put your cherished loved one’s name in every time you see the name Tony. Make this your own personal story! This is YOUR story!)
So, Let’s begin. The questions. They start when you wake up. “Who’s going to take care of Tony when I’m gone?” “Will they be patient with Tony or get frustrated with him/her?” “Where will Tony live?” “I’ve seen some of the ‘state institutions’, I know they do the best they can, but can WE as a society do better?” “Will Tony be happy?” “Will Tony’s caregivers take the time to understand him/her?” “What can I do to make sure Tony is safe and happy?”
One of the key components of Sage Farms is family/loved one involvement. We understand that 24/7 involvement is not a realistic option for families, nor do we expect it. At Sage Farms we believe a key element of our organization is knowing that family members or friends are vested in the care of their loved one on the spectrum. If a family member or friend volunteers one day per month, Sage Farms is assured that at any given time, there is always a person on the premises that is family or loved one of a resident, to support and advocate for all residents. Whether it be helping pick berries, checking ID’s for guests, or interacting with the residents. Your presence, while often unseen, is vital to success.
I was once asked if Sage Farms grew sage. Well of course…we grow all things wise!!!! Then of course, we had to guaranty we’d grow sage…and thyme, and rosemary, and mint! We started with the premise of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc. Quickly we learned we were limiting our options. We reached out to true experts. Farmers markets, chefs, bakers and were given excellent advice, skills and services to make Sage Farms, not only a growing farm, but a full-fledged, farm to table organization. With the help and experience of these experts, Sage Farms is limitless.
While growing farm to table we will also work on practical social skills at the weekend farmers market. Residents will package and sell the produce they grow at local farmers markets.
Each resident will have a private room. While all the grounds of Sage Farms will have 24/7 surveillance, each residence will have a private room that will only be accessible by the resident, their family member or a staff member. While Sage Farms will have a common area accessible to everyone, each resident will have their own space. Every person on the spectrum is unique and has unique needs which makes their private space so important. The family and resident have say so over how the private room and bathroom is setup, keeping in mind that resident safety is always our primary concern.
Every child with a special need grows up…but they still live with their special need. While they are young, they have mom, dad, therapists, teachers providing educational services, and other caregivers hoovering over them. While all the while mom and dad are worrying about that day when their baby is going to be grown and they won’t be able to take care of them anymore. I’ve been there with my oldest and I’m going through it again with my youngest. It is the worst feeling in the world not knowing how your child is going to be cared for when you aren’t around and all you can do is pray that someone will love and care for them as much as you do. We understand that at Sage Kids. While we can’t fix everything, we can do a few things. Every workshop we offer we make available to adults with special needs (you know I meant SUPER POWERS!).