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Jack and Kevin: Riding Towards Independence

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One of Jack’s greatest joys in life is taking long bike rides through backroads, enjoying nature and the beautiful scenery. At age 16, he was inspired to start biking to gain independence. Now 27, Jack’s rides have grown longer, sometimes incorporating trips on the commuter rail, and he always makes sure to stop at a local restaurant to enjoy a good meal. 

Jack’s dad Kevin views his bike-riding adventures as a sign of Jack’s progress. “The fact that he is independent enough to do all this is kind of overwhelming to us when we consider where we started.” Kevin shared that there were points in Jack’s life where he was not verbal and would often take off without warning, keeping him and Jack’s mom, Anne, on alert at all times. 

“Jack has come a long way, and Advocates is very much a part of that success,” he adds. 

In 2014, Kevin and Anne were exploring options for Jack’s future as he finished high school. Through a friend, Anne learned about Advocates Adult Family Care (AFC) program, which provides compassionate support, connections to resources, and a financial stipend to caregivers of a loved one at home. 

The family connected with case manager Brittany Shaw, who helped them plan Jack’s transition from school to a day program. Over the years, Brittany and the family have formed a wonderful, supportive relationship. 

“The consistency of working with Brittany has been great,” said Kevin, with Jack adding, “She always helps me when I need help, and she always supports me.” 

Whether Brittany is providing information about resources and other services, or just lending a listening ear, her support is invaluable. “There was a time where Jack was very upset, and he called Brittany. She reassured him and calmed him down,” Kevin shared. 

Brittany emphasizes that AFC is a great option for caregivers who are feeling lonely or exhausted, saying “You have a nurse and case manager coming into your home, creating long-term relationships with the whole family.” 

In addition to biking, Jack has many other interests including vintage electronics and appliances, classic cars–his favorite being a 1964 Chevrolet Impala–and playing with his dog Riley. He also loves his job at Meals on Wheels, which helped him learn responsibility and money management skills. 

When looking towards the future, Jack hopes to one day live independently. In the meantime, the continued support from the AFC team is helping the family thrive. 

For families who are caring for a son or daughter with a disability or an aging loved one at home, Adult Family Care may be the right fit. Visit www.Advocates.org/AFC to learn more about AFC and eligibility requirements.