David's Story

David* is a 54 year old man diagnosed with Down’s syndrome who functions within the Mild Range of Developmental Disabilities.  In 1996, David moved into the Volunteers of America-Greater New York Residential Services program, where he exercises the right to enjoy meaningful relationships with people in his life with the support of direct care professionals.  David receives Residential Habilitation (RH) services through Volunteers of America. He also receives MSC services through Lifestyles for the Disabled and attends Carmel Richmond Nursing Home’s Day Care Program, where David participates in activities that encourage his growth.

In 2010, David was diagnosed with early onset of Alzheimer’s dementia. David, once active, social and able to express his needs and desire to staff, could no longer exercise those abilities. Between 2010 to early 2012, David’s health declined drastically and he was hospitalized several times.  Throughout his illness and hospitalization, the residential staff at VOA-GNY would strive to treat David with dignity, care, and patience, and to understand the symptoms of his diagnoses.  The Residential Services program implemented innovative solutions that greatly improved David’s personal outcomes.  David was linked up with outstanding, experienced direct care professionals who provided exceptional services.

Even though David can no longer exercise his self-determination skills, the majority of the activities that are planned for him are tailored towards things he once did or expressed the desire to do.  He especially enjoys listening to music, watching movies, interacting with his peers and singing and dancing. Staff advocates for his needs with passion, integrates David into the community, and helps him endure his illness with dignity, yet still contribute to society. Currently, David’s health is stable, and he is enjoying day-to-day interaction.  Last year, David enjoyed several recreational activities with his staff that included but were not limited to: a vacation to the Catskill Mountains, a Broadway show and a visit to The Bronx Zoo.

In May 2013, David was accepted to Carmel Richmond Nursing Home’s Adult Day Program. During the deterioration of David’s health, he was provided with RH at this program; therefore, the staff at Carmel Richmond is familiar with David’s current medical condition.  At Carmel Richmond, David is provided medical attention and additional opportunities to socialize. He engages in activities that stimulate his mental and physical being.

The tender loving care and dedication that David receives from his service providers has helped to improve his medical condition and now David demonstrates the quality of life we strive to ensure every human being.  We believe in OPWDD’s motto: “Everyday Heroes are Direct Support Professionals who help people with developmental disabilities make community connection every day.”   (www.opwdd.gov)


*Individual’s name has been changed.