Picayune’s Millcreek provides support
The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities defines intellectual disability as being characterized by significant limitations in both intellectual function and adaptive behavior, which encompasses both social and practical skills.
Adults who suffer from these types of disabilities often find it difficult to complete basic tasks on their own, find and secure employment or hold a conversation with a member of the community.
However, there are facilities staffed with trained personnel to support these individuals in their endeavor for a normal life.
Millcreek Home and Community Based Services, centrally located in Magee, Miss., provides support for intellectually and developmentally disabled adults and has a location in Picayune.
The Picayune central office serves as a day treatment facility, and there are two male and female assisted living homes in Carriere and Picayune, program director Courtney Williams said.
Millcreek provides two main services. The first is a day service, where staff focuses on teaching daily living skills and community needs. For example, individuals learn how to shop for personal care items and participate in leisure and community events.
“Our day clients live with family, in supervised living facilities or some live independently and are here for about six hours a day,” Williams said.
The second is pre-vocational, where the focus is on work-related skills. Participants learn effective tools including communication skills, motor skills and increasing attention spans.
“We strive to focus on integrating the individuals into the community, to live just as we live,” Williams said.
Millcreek services also offer home and community support, in house nursing respite and supported employment, Williams said.
“Our staff and licensed nurses will visit the individual’s home, assess their environment and provide assistance as needed,” Williams said. “With regards to supported employment, our agency sends a job coach to the work site and assists that individual with their duties.”
In the group homes, individuals are supervised 24-hours a day in a home setting, Williams said.
Before entering Millcreek’s program, individuals must be evaluated and older than 18-years-old.
There are four steps, Williams said. First, evaluations and diagnostics are conducted at the South Mississippi Regional Center in Long Beach. The second step involves a waiting period. Williams recommends that families begin the application process before the individual enters high school so that clients can be approved before they reach adulthood.
“After approval, clients have to be accepted into the Medicaid Waiver program, which covers the costs of supported services,” Williams said. “Finally, the support coordination staff at South Mississippi Regional Center will approve the individual for specific services.”
For Williams, helping create the change for these individuals is one of the most rewarding aspects of her job.
“I love it here,” Williams said. “It can be difficult for families to care for their loved one but knowing that we are an agency that can provide help makes you feel like you have given something back.”
Mary Scott is a direct support staff member and supervises about seven individuals. Scott coaches her charges in independence, hand-eye coordination, community inclusion, job hunting and money management.
“I love it here and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world,” Scott said. “My favorite part is the interaction and teaching. If I can get them to grasp one thing, then they have learned a lot. It’s making a real difference in their lives.”
Thirty-five-year-old Cecille Hatten attends Millcreek every day and said she enjoys working on the computer and sometimes works in the kitchen.
“I like listening to the radio and talking to my friends,” Hatten said.
Hatten lives with her mother and currently spends her free time Christmas shopping for family members.
Jackie Payne, 60, said she never misses a day at Millcreek, unless she is ill.
Payne lives with her brother and sister, who are good to her, she said.
She enjoys spending time on leisurely outings and eating at a restaurant.
“I love watching Dr. Phil and listening to Christmas music,” Payne said. “I love all my family, friends and the workers here. I’m blessed to be here.”
Learn more about Millcreek at www.millcreekhcbs.com and contact Williams by phone at 601-799-4797.