Dana Lehman and FSL's Assisted Group Living homes
At 71, Dana Lehman has cultivated an acute appreciation for life’s simple pleasures. He enjoys staying up to date on the news, walking in the park, and feeding the ducks with the other residents of FSL’s Assisted Group Living Program. “I give each one a full piece of bread,” he adds. The local ducks certainly appreciate his generosity.
Dana’s got piercing light blue eyes and a kind expression. Prior to joining the AGL program five and a half years ago, Dana led an eventful, accomplished life. He spent twelve years earning three college degrees. In December of 1989, he packed up his Mercury and drove from Rhode Island to Phoenix, Arizona, where he’d gotten a job working in a claims department. “I lived on my own in an apartment in downtown Phoenix for $250 a month,” he recalls. “Cheap, huh?” Even then, Dana savored the little things. “I lived peacefully and quietly,” he remembers. “During my free time, I listened to classical music, but I loved rock ‘n’ roll.”
Based solely on details like these, we wouldn’t blame you for imagining Dana’s life was largely serene or uncomplicated, but you’d be wrong. Dana lives with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Delusional disorders: conditions that have caused him a lot of suffering over the years. “It was difficult for me to accept what I was going through, and I still don’t,” Dana admits.
Dana is a resident in FSL’s Assisted Group Living (AGL). AGL provides treatment for individuals who have a Serious Mental Illness (SMI) diagnosis. Facilities are staffed 24/7 and offers support to the residents to meet their individual needs and goals. This allows the individual to live in the least restrictive setting with the highest level of independence possible. AGL certified caregivers provides support to the residents with personal care needs. Also on staff are Behavioral Health Technicians, Registered Nurses, and Licensed Clinical Personnel.
For Dana, FSL’s AGL program has enabled him to enjoy his retirement while also still maintaining his independence. “The staff always state that your diagnosis doesn’t define you, and their continuous support every day has made me look and feel the way I do today, here and now,” he says. He enjoys the activities that take place each day, and the trips to the park for some exercise. He gets along well with other residents, and he likes group get-togethers.
Mostly, though, he’s grateful to the staff. “They didn’t give up on me, and now I am doing a lot better than I was before,” he says. “They are always available when I need help. I owe them everything.”
Join the Team that Helps Dana!
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Established in 1974, FSL is dedicated to providing integrated, customized care for those who need it in the Phoenix area. We offer a wide range of home- and community-based services, including:
- Affordable housing options
- Nutritious meal programs
- Health & Wellness programs
- Senior centers
- Recreation programs
- Support for caregivers
These services are designed to enable Arizonans of all ages to live happier, healthier, more independent lives. So, if you or someone you know is struggling to have their needs met, don’t hesitate to contact us and find out how we can help you. And if you’re looking to give back, consider donating or volunteering your time to our mission. We can’t wait to work with you!