Home is Where the Heart Is: The Adult Family Care/Shared Living Program creates opportunities for independence and connection

Connie Murrill (left) has been a caregiver for Sally Ellis (right) for more than 16 years

“Home” can mean many things—the place where you sleep, the community you create, or the feeling of belonging. The Adult Family Care/Shared Living (AFC/SL) program helps create a home for individuals looking to build independence and connection outside the group home setting. Caregivers support individuals with transportation, community involvement, and other activities of daily living like hygiene, nutrition, and money management. Connie Murrill is a Cape Abilities caregiver whose relationship with individual Sally Ellis exemplifies what this program is all about. Sally has been a part of Connie’s family for more than 16 years, and both women have profoundly impacted each other.

“There was just this connection right away,” said Connie of her first time meeting Sally. “She just really has become part of the family.”

Dawn (left), Sally, and Connie have enjoyed many community outings together, as well as family vacations

Connie, whose daughter Dawn is also a caregiver, ensures that Sally has what she needs every day—providing essentials like rides to doctor appointments and fun coffee outings. Together they have attended parades, community socials, family lunches and dinners, and they’ve even included Sally in family vacations to Florida and New Jersey.

“Everything Connie does for Sally is done with the most purest intentions. Connie’s pure and simple love for Sally shines daily,” said Antonia Sacco, Director of the Adult Family Care/Shared Living Program. “Its just love. Nothing else you can call it.”

“Connie is truly an inspiration,” said Kristina Caterino, RN, Director of Nursing. “Sally, Connie, and Dawn have shown us the true meaning of person-centered care and inclusion.”

While there are natural challenges to being a caregiver, Connie says that the connection she has with Sally shines through at the end of the day.

“We’re lucky to have her.”

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