News (Noticias)

Celebrating 20 Years of Supporting Independence

Life Skills & Support Provides Adults with Disabilities Person-Centered Residential Service

Sheri Price and Charles Serna

Life Skills & Support, a residential support program through Rocky Mountain Human Services, helps clients, like Charles Serna (right), live as independently as possible in the community. The program connected him to host home provider Sheri Price (left).

Decades ago, Charles Serna bounced around between living situations, from boarding homes to group homes for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). He didn’t have the freedom to do many of the things he loves, like visit Elitch Gardens, eat at Wendy’s and watch television when he liked.

“I didn’t have too much fun there,” Charles said.

Today, Charles can do all those things and more thanks to help from Life Skills & Support, a program of Rocky Mountain Human Services that opens doors to new opportunities for adults with I/DD.

The program provides individualized residential support that fosters inclusion and empowers individuals to gain independence, advocate for themselves and reach their full potential. Life Skills & Support is celebrating 20 years of service this year, and Charles was one of its first clients.

Life Skills & Support offers three models of care:

  1. Supported Residential Services help adults with I/DD live in their own home or apartment.

  2. Family Caregiver Services train family members to become paid care providers.

  3. Host Home Services connect adults with disabilities to highly qualified community members who wish to share their homes.

Each model is funded by Medicaid and subject to eligibility. Private-pay options are also available.

When the program first started as a residential agency, it owned about 10 group homes and also offered host homes. Charles started at Life Skills & Support in 2000 and briefly lived in a group home, moving into a host home at the end of 2002. By then, Life Skills & Support had transitioned from staffed group homes to host home settings.

Life Skills & Support hires extensively screened and background-checked host home providers. Then, Life Skills & Support staff connect clients to host homes providers who are a great long-term fit. Charles tried out a few host homes, finding his best match with provider Sheri Price. He has lived with her for eight years and has no plans to leave anytime soon.

“I like her personality and her happiness,” Charles said. “She cooks good food.”

Gaining Independence

Charles has more freedom than ever with Sheri. He has his own bedroom and television, so he can watch what he wants when he wants. He goes to Wendy’s once a week with Sheri, and at home, she cooks his meals, including Charles’ favorite – baked chicken with rice and vegetables.

Charles visits his family and spends time with his nephew on the weekends. He also has a roommate at Sheri’s house, Shirleen Olson, who is another Life Skills & Support client.

Charles gains independence through his friendship with Shirleen. Without her, he wouldn’t be able to get out of the house as often. Charles isn’t very good at staying safe when he walks near busy roads on his own, which limits his ability to go where he pleases. Shirleen has great safety skills and can accompany him when he wants to go somewhere fun.

“Shirleen and I go to movies and all sorts of places,” Charles said.