John and Sherita

Sherita was working for an agency with John when he was making the transition to the Respite Care Home. Once he moved into the Respite Care Home, she was asked to work at the Respite Care Home full-time to work with John. “Just knowing that everyone appreciated me and the I work I do made me very happy,” she said. “Sherita is his woman,” joked Kathy Crane, the Respite Care Home’s Manager. Over her time working at Community Living, Sherita has gotten to know John well. She can tell what mood he’s in, what he needs, or what he wants to do by his signature noises.

One day, Sherita was talking to someone on the phone and they asked her to tell John they said “hi.” John was sitting next to her, so she put the phone on speaker and handed it to him. He lit up and started making noises, communicating with his friend on the other end. “People think he doesn’t know what’s going on. He knows what’s going on. He knows how to talk on the phone.”

John also tells people what he’s thinking using his body language and facial expressions. Kathy says he loves to be around people, especially if he can be outside. He has a big fan and a hammock chair and he’ll sit out on the patio for hours, even when it’s hot outside if someone will sit with him. He’s always liked going for rides in the car, too. Even as a child, his sister says he enjoyed Sunday drives every week with his family. He also enjoys soft country and mellow music and will sit in the living room in his recliner with a group of people watching just about anything on TV.

“He’s a good-hearted guy. He’s got a great smile.”

While he loves being with people, lately he’s been enjoying spending time in his newly decorated bedroom. His room is filled with glow-in-the-dark stickers and his sister brought over a lava lamp for him. He likes to turn off the lights and watch the glow of the lights. His room isn’t the only exciting change in his life. John recently started using a new wheelchair which allows him to be more comfortable and mobile.

Kathy said he’s been a great person to have at the Respite Care Home. “He’s a good-hearted guy,” she says. “He’s got a great smile. His eyes and smile will just make you melt.”