I used to work at Lakeland Village. I wrote its newsletter. I have published stories of the clients’ involvement with the community as well as each other. I believe Mary Beth Thompson (Dec. 11) has got this right. The clients have different needs than the public may be used to providing.
One of them is having like-friends who understand them; people they are used to seeing for most of their lives. It is home to them. It is “their town,” as it were. The staff (most of them) has been there for many years and adjusted to the times as best as they can without further funding to meet regulations that increase while funds to provide staff decrease. Of course, that is going to make Lakeland appear to be failing.
Lakeland staff love their clients as family, and clients trust and love their staff because they take good care of them. So one might think that tossing them into the community is freeing them from some unjust institutionalization. But this cuts them off from their friends, their family. They become isolated and depressed. People, go observe this little town of Lakeland Village from a different standpoint: that of the clients.