Discover the possibilities with Mosaic at HomeMar 02, 2020 02:28PM ● By Aaron Reynolds
Retirees and empty nesters open their homes and hearts to people with disabilities
Tom Pritchett, a lover of music and explorer of the outdoors, greets life with a warm smile and infectious laugh. He’s been a member of the Grand Valley community for decades, working a steady job and residing in his own apartment. But Pritchett also lives with an intellectual disability, which has made it harder for him to maintain his independent lifestyle.
Then a friendly conversation changed his life. While attending a day program that supports people with disabilities, Pritchett, 62, met a younger gentleman who shared many common interests despite their age difference.
His new friend happened to live with a host provider. While watching a movie one night, Pritchett fell asleep on the couch at his friend’s host home. The accidental sleepover turned into a slumber party the next weekend. Pritchett found that the struggles he faced living alone lessened when he stayed over at the host’s home.
Pritchett made the transition from his apartment to a home host provider years ago. Recently, he moved in with hosts Earl and Cindy Almond where he also gets to spend time with his friend under the same roof.
Before becoming home hosts, the Almonds spent years working in foster care. After retiring to the Grand Valley several years ago, they didn’t have any immediate plans of turning back to caregiving. However, the couple felt they weren’t quite done serving others, so they turned to Mosaic at Home to make an impact. They welcomed Pritchett into their home with open arms.
Mosaic at Home
Mosaic at Home provides community-based residential services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Although the Almonds have a history in caregiving, Cindy insists that experience is not mandatory to become a home host provider. All you need to do is open your heart.
“It’s such a meaningful opportunity,” Cindy explained. “I’m sure this isn’t right for everybody, but for that individual who has [a home] to give, it’s so perfect.”
While Pritchett values his independence with great zeal, the reality is that he’s among a sizable and underrepresented demographic on the Western Slope with special needs that require daily assistance.
Mosaic guarantees ongoing education and training for home host providers, along with a 24-hour support network. The financial incentives are also noteworthy and reward providers for their generosity.
Opening your door to a stranger is an uncomfortable thought for many people, yet the opportunity to serve others leaves a lasting imprint on providers as well.
“It can be difficult, but it’s one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have to give to another human, to someone that needs things that you can offer,” Cindy added.
Mosaic makes it a priority to value the independence and desires of those served, and therefore only matches people with disabilities to suitable homes. A caregiver plan is built around those specific needs, along with an individualized training program for the provider.
The residential program doesn’t have many requirements to meet before you open your home to people with disabilities. The opportunity is especially convenient for empty nesters or people who work from home, given the unusual demands.
Cindy asserts that Mosaic at Home always puts the individual served first; personal independence is a major priority. Pritchett still has a job at the Botanical Gardens, yet he also has people to come home to every night.
Pritchett loves his new place. Though Cindy admits the first few days of welcoming someone new into your home is daunting, when you put in the effort, the rest tends to fall into place.
“It’s just a great opportunity to give and yet to receive at the same time,” she said.
Open your home
Those interested in learning more about Mosaic at Home should attend “Discover the Possibilities.” The orientation takes place the first Wednesday of every month at Mosaic’s Grand Junction headquarters on 2456 Industrial Blvd.
“You’ll never, never feel like you are doing this alone,” Cindy said.
Pritchett has found a home through Mosaic. He, and the many others the organization serve, are a reminder that while food, water and shelter are important, life is about more than just the essentials. It’s also having someone that loves you and is willing to welcome you home when you have nowhere else to go.
For additional information, call Mosaic at 245-0519 or visit www.mosaicinfo.org.