Generally speaking, a typical day in the life of the residents at one of Interaction’s Shared and Supported Accommodation facilities is as follows:
Staff prepare breakfast at 6am each day – portion sizes and presentation of meals are the same for each resident at breakfast and dinner. At lunch the residents eat separately and so the meal varies in caloric value, depending on the weight and health of the individual. The meals are generous in size whilst keeping calories low.
The house has a number of rules which apply equally to all residents, who accept them as fair. These include locking the kitchen, and the requirement that each resident is positively guided to follow their routine. Routines such as: showering, checking skin for infection due to skin picking, receiving a packed lunch and all the other things involved in getting the residents to work on time. One of the residents exercises on a treadmill in the morning, the others in the afternoon. Everything is done in a set sequence, negotiated in advance with each individual. Each resident helps to decide the order of the routine, but once it is finalized it must be adhered to, unless an unforeseen event forces a change.
All of the residents work in supported employment. The parents of the residents, along with Interaction staff have been heavily involved in educating the workshops about PWS and encouraging their adult offspring to continue going to work, even when problems occur. Afternoons are busy and include individual outings for banking, shopping, and craft groups. This is usually linked with exercise and a low fat coffee. The busy routine also reduces ‘spare time’ that may result in skin picking and thinking about food. In the house there is a routine board with the sequence of events listed for each resident to refer to. To ensure everyone is on the same page, there is also an activity board, stating who is going where each day.
Weekends are also busy, exercise related outings are encouraged and often come with a reward. For example, if a resident chooses to do swimming and does an agreed amount of laps of the pool, they can have a low calorie treat of their choice. This is only given at the end of the outing, therefore the residents realize that they need to reach the goal/task given in order to obtain the reward. Other outings include regular trips to the movies, bowling, bush walks and trips to local shops and parks. The House Manager/Team Leader has an individual meeting with each resident on a weekly basis, and negotiates all of this in advance, and in detail.
We believe that the program works well for the individual residents, and that we have been able to assist them with living an active and healthy lifestyle.