The first of PSL Services’ mental health developments is CHESLEY STREET, a residence where three older women have made their home since 1998. Over the nine years it has been open, these women and their support staff have established a comfortable, companionable, and supportive environment where friendship and mutual support is the norm.
Factors conducive to this cohesion include:
- Virtually no turnover in residency from the beginning;
- Total staff turnover since 1998 opening of
- Tenants knew one another from the State hospital and shared similar experiences during their frequent and lengthy hospitalizations. (Avg. period of total hospitalizations = 28 years).
- Same-aged peers: share many likes and dislikes in foods, music, activities, television programs, etc;
- Share many of the same medical issues, demonstrating compassion and support toward one another;
Caring staff who:
- monitor changes in mental health status, medical issues, and amount of nourishment taken;
- encourage adherence to prescribed diet and exercise plans in a respectful and light-hearted manner;
- Are committed to the concept of ‘aging in place,’ meaning the belief that these ladies should not have to move from their home because of medical issues related primarily to aging.
The women host a meeting once a week with the Program Director to discuss issues, concerns, desires and whatever else may be on their minds. One week they might share their desire for the dining room to be painted yellow; the following week they might point out that the exterior landscape is looking a bit seedy and could use some sprucing up. The meeting is generally a lot of fun and has become quite a social event for all concerned. Participation is voluntary; yet, it seems a week does not pass without a full-house in attendance.