The Fletcher family would be considered a large family of eight children – seven boys and the youngest a girl. Although the children are all grown up and left home, the parents’ time and attention are spent mostly to care for their sixth child, Sam.
‘Sam has Downs syndrome, Autism and epilepsy. He is non-verbal and can have challenging behaviour,’ shares his mum, Margot.
Sam is now twenty-five and he lives as a tenant in his home. Sam’s parents would have liked Sam to remain at home but at the time there was support flexibility that would not allow this.
Margot shares the struggles, ‘as Sam became a young teenager it became very difficult juggling Sam’s needs and those of the rest of the family at the same time.’
‘It was a very difficult decision to have Sam leave his family home but is now proving to be a positive option. It just came with a bit more work to set up and get going.’
Margot and Steve decided to start Care4Me, a business entity that would become Sam’s support system. Sam’s care support is provided through Individualised Funding which covers wages and some training.
The focus is now on ensuring Sam is encouraged to be as independent as is practical for him and giving him opportunity to make choices for himself. He is being supported to maintain a healthy routine and be part of the community.
He visits the Aquatic Centre for a swim on a Tuesday and Thursday and enjoys a picnic lunch and walk most days. He enjoys the monthly disco and a monthly faith gathering for lunch.
As an employer and business owner, Margot and Steve also have the responsibility to upskill their staff.
‘Training has always been high on the agenda,’ says Margot. They found industry training organisation, Careerforce, to support their training needs.
Then Margot decided to use the training opportunity alongside Sam’s support staff. She has completed the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing L3 and is continuing on with the Business Management Level 4.
Margot is also a registered assessor. This will allow her to assess her staff’s competency as they do training and also support them better to achieve a national qualification.
Margot has fully immersed herself into learning as much as possible. She says, ‘It widens your scope of thinking and discerning situations. It has also helped me to see where we can make improvements in Sam’s home.’