Allicia Travels to Costa Maya for her Birthday!

Allicia loves celebrating her birthday and usually starts planning her celebration, with the help of her Mom (and Family Care Giver) one year in advance! Allicia will be celebrating her 41st birthday on January 31st. To celebrate, Allicia and her family are taking a cruise to Mexico to swim with dolphins. Jean reported they are having a lovely time in Costa Maya. Allicia’s sister and brother-in-law were able to join, as well!

Jean reports that Allicia and family traveled to Costa Maya to see the Mayan ruins. “It was so fascinating.”, she relayed. They also got to see lots of spider monkeys in the jungle. In addition, Allicia did really well and overcame her fear of allowing the dolphin to take her to shore by having her ride on his belly. Allicia did it and was so glad!  It was wonderful moment.

We love how adventurous Allicia is! Happy birthday from your team at Support, Inc.!

FCG month

Family Caregiver of the Month

Please join us in congratulating our most recent Family Caregiver of the Month, Craig! This nomination was submitted by Stephanie with the Denver/Colorado Springs Team.

We would like to nominate Craig Sullivan for Family Caregiver (FCG) of the Month. Since taking over as the full-time FCG, Craig’s passion has been nothing short of amazing. He is very mindful with person-centered-thinking, and not only keeps RS engaged with her community, but rather immerses her in it. For example, Craig and RS have attended tribute band’s concerts frequently. RS has established a relationship with the band and has her own set of drumsticks that were gifted to her from them. Craig and RS also like to celebrate Halloween and find much joy in creating a one-of-a-kind costume that takes months to plan. RS even won best costume at the Support Inc. Halloween party! As a Residential Coordinator, it is fun checking in with them because you know they will have a fun story to share of what they’ve been up to. Thank you for being a phenomenal advocate and caregiver. Congratulations, Craig!



Clinical Services- News & Information

New Leadership: The Clinical Team at Support Inc. has a new leader! Chris Sharkey recently took over the department as the new Associate Director of Clinical Services. Chris has been a well-respected Clinician at Support Inc. for numerous years now and we’re excited to see how the department flourishes under his leadership. If you see Chris, please send him a big congratulations!

What You Need to Know about Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder

The Support, Inc. Clinical Team Provides the Facts, Care Options and Coping Strategies

Winter is officially here – bringing colder weather, shorter days and a shift in mood for many people. According to Christopher Sharkey, the director of clinical services for Support, Inc. – a leading provider of community-based solutions for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities – depression symptoms are similar to the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which can occur more often during the winter months.

“Many people will experience depression at some point in their lives. This is no different for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. However, depression can be easily missed in people who have social and communication disabilities,” explains Sharkey. “While there may be a difference in the diagnosis, the coping strategies are very much the same. This reinforces the fact that we are truly all more alike than we are different.”

The Support, Inc. clinical team is proud to provide the following important information and facts about depression and SAD and offer coping strategies.

What is depression?

Common symptoms of depression include:

  • Feelings of sadness that persist.
  • Loss of interest in activities you would typically enjoy.
  • Chronic fatigue.
  • Issues concentrating.
  • Changes to your sleep.

What is seasonal affective disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) shares many of the same symptoms as depression. The shorter days in winter can make it hard to get enough sunlight which can cause a drop in serotonin, affecting our mood. Serotonin is a chemical that sends signals between nerve cells and is thought to play a role in regulating your mood.

The reduction of daylight can also affect our sleep, also resulting in changes to our mood. There are a few ways to help determine the difference between depression and SAD.

  • Have you felt depressed at the start of winter over the past two years?
  • Do you feel better when winter ends?
  • Are there any relatives you know who experience SAD?

What to do?

Whether you are experiencing depression or SAD, seeing a therapist can be very helpful. There are also a number of coping strategies you can try using on your own, including the following.

  • Mindfulness
  • Adjust your daily routines to maximize sunshine (feel the sunshine on a walk).
  • Consider what leisure activities can happen in the darker hours such as connecting with a friend by phone, mindfully cooking, writing a letter or drawing.
  • Create a healthy sleep routine – avoid screens too close to bedtime; keep a consistent bedtime; and avoid caffeine later in the day.
  • Connect to your body through movement.
  • Exercise.

“If you are experiencing symptoms that are disrupting life, it is important to talk to your doctor and care providers,” says Sharkey. “Your doctor and care providers can work together to help determine what care options might be best for you.”

HR Corner

HR News- A Digital Win

The Support Inc. HR team is excited to have completed our first benefit enrollment entirely electronically through ADP. This made the enrollment process much easier for all employees. We are looking forward to continuing to migrate over to this system with self-serve options for contractors and employees, making life easier for our stakeholders! More details to come!

Thank you

January Anniversaries

Please join us in congratulating the below employees with a January anniversary!

Anna Anderson, 6 years on 1/17/2023

Elizabeth Hildebrand, 5 years on 1/15/2023

Ricki Eckdahl, 4 years on 1/1/2023

Elizabeth Lane, 4 years on 1/14/2023

Seth Boniface, 3 years on 1/12/2023

Gail Peters Hill, 2 years on 1/13/2023

Susan Salyards, 1 year on 1/1/2023

Brandon Thibodeau, 1 year on 1/3/2023

Paulyn Matibag, 1 year on 1/3/2023

Mary Beth Roth, 1 year on 1/6/2023

Nathan Algien, 1 year on 1/17/2023

Lisa Carrillo, 1 year on 1/21/2023



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Quality Assurance- Federal Final Settings Rule Series Part Two

Part Two of our Final Settings Rule communication series will focus on informed choice. Read Part One.

Last month we focused on person-centered planning. This month we will build on person-centeredness with the requirement of informed choice. All settings (residential, day program and employment) must optimize individual initiative, autonomy and independence in making life choices. This includes:

  • Each person has privacy in their bedroom. They have a lockable door and only appropriate staff have a key. They can decorate and furnish their bedroom however they want.
  • People get to choose where they live, who they live with including other people in services and who provides their services.
  • People have the freedom and support to control their own schedules and activities.
  • People can have visitors of their choice to their home at any time.
  • People can socialize with people of their choice.
  • People are given 24-7 access to shared telephones and computers, either by making such resources available within the setting (e.g., a dedicated “house phone”) or by helping people access such resources elsewhere.
  • People have access to food at all times, can choose when and where to eat. People have input into meal planning.
  • People can come and go as they wish and have their own key to the home they live in.
  • People have full access to typical areas of the home (kitchen, dining area, laundry and other shared areas).
  • People can control their own money. They can spend their money when they want and on what they want.
  • People have a secure place to keep their belongings when at day program.
  • People live in a home that is accessible to them (such as wheelchair ramps if needed).

As part of the person-centered planning process, people are supported to make informed choices to direct their own lives. Our roles as paid support providers and caregivers is to help the person make informed decisions, support the person to live the life they want and provide services and supports for them to meet their individual goals.