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Client Spotlight: Swavy M.

Posted on : 08 Dec 2022 | No Comments

Ask anyone at KANDU and they will tell you that Swavy’s got a smile that will light up the room. A KANDU client since 1993, Swavy started prevocational work at KANDU where she quickly made friends on the production line with her outgoing personality. Then in 2013, after several years of working in pre-vocational employment, health complications started to hinder Swavy’s mobility making it difficult and painful to complete tasks.

KANDU is no stranger to accommodating the changing needs of long-term clients. Aspects like natural aging, health complications, and the personal preferences of the client are all taken into consideration when finding the appropriate program, and consistent check-ins between staff and clients ensure that if and when it’s time to transition to a different program, the process runs smoothly.

When Swavy started experiencing mobility issues, she met with her care team to discuss possible solutions. Care teams typically include the client, KANDU program managers and outside support such as family or caregivers.  Together they decided to transition from pre-vocational work, where daily tasks require more physical movement, to KANDU’s Day Services program, where activities and exercises are planned to complement each individual’s personal abilities.

The Day Services program emphasizes improvement in physical, mental and social well-being with caring experts like Program Manager Carmen Jones who works closely with her team to ensure each client maintains a sense of independence.  “Planning activities and setting goals based on each client’s individual needs and preferences is a priority,” said Carmen. “The clients are very involved in developing our monthly calendars and truly enjoy coming up with ideas for the activities and outings we participate in each month.” Swavy had the opportunity to go on more than 100 trips with Adult Day Services in 2021 including picnics at local parks, bowling, the zoo, the movie theater, and more.

“We observe an elevation in overall mood and physical well-being with our clients that is directly related to activity,” said Carmen. These outings promote physical activity, a key part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially for clients like Swavy who experience mobility barriers. Program managers also work individually with Swavy to perform exercises designed to maintain movement in her legs where she feels the most discomfort.  They provide the encouragement and support she needs to make daily movement one of her primary goals.

Not every day is perfect, but recently Swavy joined the Day Services walking club, enjoying group walks with her peers multiple times a week. Swavy also enjoys individual activities especially latch hooking, coloring, and doing word searches. Staff balance a combination of individual and group activities to provide opportunities for social interaction while honoring the needs of clients who are more introverted or occasionally prefer alone time, like Swavy.

But most of the time, “Swavy loves to tease and joke around.  She has a great sense of humor and loves to have a good time with staff and her peers,” said Julie Smith, director of client services. Staff repeatedly describe Swavy as “delightful” and point out what a fun personality and presence she has. “She is also a great friend to so many of the other clients who attend KANDU,” said Julie. “People like Swavy are what make KANDU more than a program, they make us a family.”