Community Rehabilitation is a Recipe for Success

On any given day at The Elms in North Berwick, you may find Olivia, or Liv as she prefers, perusing recipes, baking brownies for her neighbors, or grocery shopping for their family-style suppers. Liv’s culinary flair is one of many talents the 24-year-old brings to the community rehabilitation program where she has lived for the past two years.

When not cooking, Liv is planning her weekly activities, gardening, spending time with family or working at the local coffee shop – a noteworthy accomplishment. “This is the first job I got on my own. I applied, interviewed and finished the training independently. It is close enough that I can walk to work until I get my license.”

It is an accomplishment that may have seemed farfetched during the most difficult times in her life.

Throughout her childhood and adolescence, Liv experienced a variety of symptoms, such as severe mood swings, delusions, and depression resulting in many hospitalizations. Eventually, she learned that she was living with schizoaffective disorder with bipolar disorder. An accurate diagnosis led to treatment that put Liv on a path to success.

Liv emphasizes that this is the longest length of time in her life – seven years – without a hospitalization. She attributes community rehabilitation as the key to this milestone.

Liv (center) enjoys a beautiful day at her apartment with Dawn Hardy, Residential Program Manager (left) and Jennifer Kozel, Residential Care Team Member

Of the care team, Liv says, “The staff here are kind and give residents a lot of freedom but are also good at reminding us to take medications and helping us keep appointments we have in the community. Everyone who lives here is at different levels in their rehabilitation and the staff support each person’s individual progress.”

Jennifer Kozel, a residential care team member, can personally attest to Liv’s progress, having had the pleasure of working with her previously in a more intensive level of care. She says, “I am so proud of Liv. She is creative, kind and a role model. I have seen her at varying stages of her life and today, I see a new person. I think her success is attributed to the right medication, clinicians, family support, but most of all, her commitment to living her best life.”

This includes attending culinary school online while preparing to take her driver’s license test. With her acquired skills, discipline, positive attitude, and bright smile – Liv has all the right ingredients for a bright future!

What is Community Rehabilitation?

Community rehabilitation is a transitional living step to more permanent, independent housing. By design, the care team supports residents as they practice independent living skills including self-care, cooking, cleaning, money management, and leisure time planning. In addition to The Elms in North Berwick, MBH provides community rehabilitation services in Belfast.