It’s not unusual for people to ask what a typical day is like for someone living in one of our homes. Here’s what an average day in the life of an APA resident looks like.
Wake-up is around 7:00, giving people time to do typical morning activities: personal grooming, getting dressed, eating breakfast. From there, a bus picks residents up and transports them to their daily work program, where they perform vocational tasks, such as product assembly, janitorial services, or packaging. The residents eat their lunch at the day program, and then they are transported back to their APA residence around 3:00. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has greatly affected these vocational programs and these services have been put on hold for many of our residents.
Residents are greeted by staff when they arrive home. Then they normally unpack their bags and have a snack, followed by some time spent relaxing or engaging in an activity of their choice. Dinner is served around 5:00, where, with a little help from residents, the meal is prepared by APA staff. Staff and residents eat dinner together family-style; after-dinner cleanup is another educational experience as residents are encouraged to clear their dishes and help clean up after the meal. One night per week, each resident gets a special dinner outing at a restaurant of their choice, accompanied by a staff person.
After dinner there are options for leisure and recreational activities. This can include going for a walk outside or, in cases of inclement weather, inside a local mall. There’s a treadmill in the rec room and a backyard swing that gets a lot of use. Residents can also receive educational programming, which can include life skills, like using money or working toward annual goals, such as medical desensitization. This is also a time to work with residents on routine housekeeping chores, like vacuuming or dusting.
Residents typically pack the next day’s lunch in the evening after dinner, and some of them prefer bathing in the evening as well. Staff are on hand to assist or instruct residents as needed for these and other activities.
By 9:00 in the evening, the houses have usually quieted down, and everyone wraps up their activities and settles into their rooms. That’s the end of a typical day for an APA resident, as well as how most weekdays go. Certainly, there are occasional interruptions to the routine—appointments, checkups, that sort of thing—but most days have the common elements detailed above.
On the weekends there are special outings to the zoo, movies, bowling—the same kind of fun or diversion anyone seeks in their leisure. APA staff always accompany residents on these outings. Other than that, there’s free time for the residents. Some have family come to visit, some simply enjoy sleeping in. They also might run small errands, such as shopping for personal items.
Every day, whether weekday or weekend, APA staff monitor the general health and well-being of each APA facility resident, looking out both for their safety and their personal development. This includes distributing prescribed medication at appropriate times throughout the day and can also include participating in different physical or occupational therapies as prescribed by the resident’s medical team.
As is ever the case, APA is focused on helping these adults with autism continue to live lives that seek out greater choice and independence.