Terry Johnson, CEO of Genesis Development, admits some of the reasons for changes for local services for differently-abled adults are "a bit complicated."
However, it appears to boil down to the federal Department of Justice enforcement of regulations "with stronger convictions" according to Johnson. This is coupled with the desire to follow through on federal mandates to bring those served closer to their communities.
Changes made here by Genesis:
Pheasant Ridge located three miles north of Toledo has been changed to a 15-person facility to comply with federal guidelines according to operator Genesis Development CEO?Terry Johnson. Chronicle file
Pheasant Ridge, the former Tama County Home located north of Toledo has been reduced in size to 15 residents.
A group home for five adults has been opened in Toledo.
An adult day program called Discovery has been established, also headquartered in Toledo.
Genesis Development is a non-profit organization based in Jefferson which took over operations of the Pheasant Ridge Care Center located north of Toledo in 2009.
Pheasant Ridge was licensed for 40 beds. Johnson said in an email the top capacity reached since 2009 was about 35 residents. With the anticipated step-up in enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a decision was made to open a pair of group homes in town and reduce the number of persons living at Pheasant Ridge.
The Disabilities Act, Johnson says, requires no federal funds can be used to pay for care for persons in group homes exceeding 16 people.
"We are trying to be proactive so our people are not just moved," Johnson wrote in an email response to Chronicle questions. When that decision was made, there were 22 residents living there.
"Each person at Pheasant Ridge now has his own room that he or she can furnish and decorate as they please," Brenda Larkin, Genesis Site Director for Tama County said a in a Genesis news release. "They also have a degree of personal privacy that was not previously possible."
Johnson also said in his email, " "While the facility provides good care for people, it is difficult to have inclusion when transportation and accessibility are issues. With the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) many years ago, everyone concentrated on architectural barriers to people with physical limitations. Ramps, Braille signage, lights, etc. were incorporated into our daily lives. The real barriers, however, still exist attitudes, employment, transportation and living environments to name a few."
Johnson wrote Genesis has continued to retain all the staff at Pheasant Ridge of 4-5 full and part time members which allows for "a better ratio per-person served," Johnson wrote.
Two persons are currently employed in the Discovery program with Johnson expecting to hire additional members as more people are served.
According to the news release, the new group home is "giving the residents the opportunity to learn basic living skills and how to care for themselves in their own home. Meal planning, cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, budgeting, gardening, safety skills in their home and in the community, and a host of other tasks and responsibilities necessary for everyday living are practiced by doing. "
In the news release, it was also stated, Over the past 40 years, Genesis has attempted to educate communities, employers and government officials as to the positives of having all citizens participate in their communities. The downsizing of Pheasant Ridge will provide opportunities for people to participate in their community who were not previously able to do so. Volunteerism, employment and socialization suddenly become possible options for them.
"Past experience has taught us that most people realize very positive outcomes when they move into a home in the community," observed Johnson. "They learn to do many household tasks for themselves. Individuals who had been transported everywhere learn to walk or use available public transportation to get to their doctor, dentist, and pharmacy appointments with Genesis providing whatever supports the person needs to carry out these tasks.
"Their self-confidence grows, their self-esteem expands, and their personal level of independence increases," he continued. "Plus, the economy of the community benefit. Most of the people that Genesis serves do not have frequent, affordable mobility options, so they spend their money locally."
Pheasant Ridge Supported Locally
The news release does on to recognize the backing Pheasant Ridge has received locally.
The residential care facility has received support from many individuals, businesses and organizations over the years, and that continued when Pheasant Ridge became a facility of Genesis Development. The most recent show of support occurred at Christmas when an outpouring of gifts and cash donations made it possible for Genesis staff to purchase and wrap gifts chosen specifically for each of the residents.
"Most of the people living at Pheasant Ridge don't have family members that visit or bring gifts," stated Larkin, "so these donors helped make the holidays much more special for them." Tama Paperboard ($500), United Steel Workers International Union - Local 7-0743 ($500), State Bank of Toledo ($100), Casey's General Store ($100), Dr. Randy Swartz - Heartland Dental Professionals ($75), Thys Chevrolet ($50), Kwik Star, Rev Lavern Seth, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Scharnweber Water Conditioning, Medicap Pharmacy, Shopko, St. Patrick's Catholic Church all of Tama and Toledo.
Also, Dr Tom & Kristi Wick of Traer, Clutier Catholic Ladies Association and the Gladbrook Methodist Church have contributed.