April Reaves and Jackie Maiden have made a great match in their home in Baltimore County, Maryland. If 17 years together teaches you anything, it’s what makes the other person tick.
All those years ago when April was struggling in her previous home, Aspire approached Jackie about sharing her home with April. “They want to match you with the right person. They want your interests to be the same,” recalls Jackie. Jackie was already working for Aspire as a DSP and also had decades of experience. After several meetings and meals together, Jackie and April agreed to move forward.
April struggled with her emotions back then. When upset, she could be verbally and physically aggressive, and she sought support by calling 911 and going to the hospital. Jackie quickly realized that April hadn’t learned the skills to help herself calm down and to seek support from others. Jackie is a natural teacher, so she was a great fit for April’s needs.
Over the years, Jackie and April have worked hard at developing new strategies that would work more effectively for them both. With Jackie’s help, April has learned to soothe herself and to take time alone when she gets overwhelmed. After she thinks about it, she’s able to talk about what’s bothering her. April has also become confident in Jackie’s attention and in her other friendships. Jackie makes a point of acknowledging April when she uses her skills or makes a good choice. All of these changes have helped April to stay out of the hospital. April reports, “I never want to move from Miss Jackie’s.”
When April first moved in with Jackie she was focused mainly on food and eating. While she still loves a good meal and a baking project, she now has many other interests as well. April’s plans for the future include getting a job. She has her sights set on working in a hotel, maybe folding sheets and towels in a laundry. Before the pandemic, Jackie and April were traveling at least two or three times a year.
April spends her time at home drawing, making crafts such as bead bracelets and necklaces, playing her favorite card games, and dancing to R&B. April has become close to Jackie’s family and loves their gatherings. Jackie’s biggest joy is her two grandchildren. April says, “they’re my children, too.”
The pandemic has brought challenges to the household. Knowing each other so well has helped Jackie and April cope with all the changes during this long, strange year. Jackie and April had a third roommate until recently. It worked out well for Jackie when April and her roommate had opposite work schedules: she could give both women the support and attention they needed one-on-one. Once everyone was home 24 hours a day, they discovered that the constant threesome wasn’t working for any of them. The roommate decided to move out. It was a big change. They both miss her and hope that the three of them will remain friends.
What will the future bring for this pair? They are looking forward to conditions being safe enough to take a vacation. After this year, they’re ready for some pampering. Going on a cruise is high on their list. Jackie notes, “That’s a true vacation…You don’t have to plan your activities, you don’t have to cook. You just show up, and they take care of everything.” That thought brings the biggest, brightest smiles to both their faces, a perfect match.
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