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Living a full life with Unisson's SIL

With broad smiles and some gentle nudging, Deemara and her support worker Linda are enjoying a chat at Unisson’s Community Access hub in the Hunter region. They are taking a short break from the 500-piece Disney Princess jigsaw puzzle which they have been working on for most of the morning. Deemara, or Dee Dee as she prefers to be called, has been focusing hard to bring the puzzle together, working on the edges as well as the faces of the main characters.

Dee Dee joined Unisson just over a year ago, moving into one of our Supported Independent Living (SIL) homes in the Hunter Region. As a young adult, Dee Dee enjoys the independence she has gained since moving to the area from Sydney, joining community access programs, developing her independent living skills, being creative, and socialising. When making the change to Unisson, Dee Dee said that she wanted “good food and to make friends”. With new housemates, learning to prepare delicious food at home, and meeting new people at the community access hub, Dee Dee is already on the way to achieving her goals.

Dee Dee shares her SIL home with two housemates. Although of different ages and personalities, they are getting to know each other, and her support workers say that Dee Dee has a positive influence at home.

Whenever she goes shopping, Dee Dee likes to buy little gifts for her new friends. It shows her generous nature and helps to build those relationships. Nik, who supports Dee Dee at her home, says she loves to be involved and help with chores, like meal preparation, especially when it’s for her favourite meal – chicken kebabs. She helps to dice the food and set the table. On Friday nights, the group enjoys fish and chips for dinner, which she always looks forward to. According to Nik, “You can tell if Dee Dee’s had a good day out, because she will start singing as soon as she gets home. She loves videos and TikTok, music like Taylor Swift, Queen, ACDC for example. There is often music playing in the house.”

Over the past year, Dee Dee has developed close relationships with her support workers at Unisson’s Community Access Hub in the Hunter region. A particular favourite is Linda, whom Dee Dee describes as “nice but cheeky” and she says Linda makes her smile and laugh. Together they love to work on jigsaw puzzles and colourful drawings. “Linda makes a good cup of tea too,” Dee Dee adds.

Linda says, “Dee Dee is beautiful. She’s very caring, loves to give big hugs and to help other people. She’s got a good sense of fun and likes to laugh and joke around. When Dee Dee first came to our Community Access hub, she was quiet, even shy. These days, after getting to know everyone, she is more outgoing. When she sets herself a goal, she tries as hard as she can, and nothing stops her.”

Linda adds, “Once a month, the group at the Community Access hub enjoy a BBQ at a local park. They take it in turns to help with the cooking, which usually consists of sausages. Dee Dee enjoys the fresh air and the chance to get to know everyone better. She is learning new skills for building relationships and her confidence has really grown.”

Dee Dee comes from a large, close-knit family, and keeps in touch with them as much as possible by phone, and often visits them. The family get together for special occasions and Dee Dee looks forward to her Easter and Christmas holiday visits in particular. Taking photos is another passion for Dee Dee. She likes to capture all the fun moments, whether it’s with her family, including new nieces and nephews, or on outings to local parks, the zoo, or just having fun at home.

According to support worker Nik, “It’s great to see Dee Dee enjoying life and settling into her new home after 12 months and to see her taking the initiative for things that need to be done around the home, and personal care. She’s a very positive person to have around.”

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