Meet the Pierce family. Mark and Lisa Pierce are Shared Living Providers to their son Brandon, who is an adult living with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Mark and Lisa have been married for over 23 years and are best friends. The Pierce’s are a very close family; they eat supper together with Brandon each night, and Facetime, text, and phone each other throughout each day. Mark and Lisa knew they wanted Brandon to live with them long term, but early on in his transition into adulthood, they struggled with Brandon and his adult rights. They shared that because Brandon grew up in their home as a child, it was not a natural switch for them.
When Mark and Lisa learned about Shared Living, they interviewed with multiple agencies, and ultimately joined Spurwink’s program in October 2021. They shared, “Meagen (program manager for Spurwink Shared Living) was the difference maker,” even when evaluating other competitive stipend-rates, “we sure have not regretted that decision.” With the support of Spurwink and becoming Providers, Mark and Lisa are able to receive a tax-free stipend funded by MaineCare, and receive individualized, person-centered support for their family.”
When asked what a typical day looks like for them, they noted that Lisa typically gets Brandon rolling in the morning for his day program. Lisa works for a funeral home, and Mark works for a trucking company. They both work jobs that have variable hours but share that that also gives them greater flexibility. Brandon usually gets home in the early afternoon and joins his family for their nightly dinners. They are involved in their local church and enjoy sports and family activities, including attending Brandon’s Special Olympics events.
Mark and Lisa had to learn how to navigate Shared Living as parents, and share that their experience has been positive, “Meagen and Spurwink have been outstanding. (…) Meagen was an open book and a great resource (…) We had very little clue as to what was expected of us early on and she was patient in answering all of our questions and keeping us on the right path.”
For Mark, Lisa, and Brandon, Shared Living with Spurwink’s support allows them to remain a close family while respecting Brandon’s adult rights. As Mark and Lisa shared so far of their experience as Brandon’s Shared Living Providers, “the fact that he is our son is an added bonus.”
To learn more about Shared Living and if being a Shared Living Provider is right for you, visit www.spurwink.org/shared-living, or call (207) 871-1200.