Alei Siach’s network of assisted-living residences was established to both relieve burdened parents, so the rest of the family could function – and no less importantly to enable each special-needs resident to live the best life they possibly can. This means placing them in an environment that is similar enough to their native society to feel familiar, and which provides them with a setting that enables them to keep progressing and enjoying life with compatible peers in a way they never could at home.
The first apartment was established in 1990. Today Alei Siach runs 29 apartments scattered throughout Jerusalem. This rapid acceleration rate is due to the serious lack of suitable housing arrangements available for the coming-of-age special-needs population.
Alei Siach apartments offer separate accommodations for men and women. All residents – from those with light developmental delays to those suffering from severe autism – enjoy a warm home suited exactly to their needs and which allows them to lead physically-independent and emotionally-fulfilling lives.
A Home Like Any Other
An Alei Siach apartment is just like any other home with cozy furnishings, tantalizing aromas of home-cooked meals and clean laundry, and fun, creative activities. Each apartment provides round-the-clock supervision by professional staff who live and sleep with the residents, and provide complete physical and emotional support. Our counselors are so bursting with faith in the capabilities of our residents and in their right to a satisfying life, it’s no wonder they are so beloved by the residents they care for.
Alei Siach homes are located in ordinary apartment buildings in the midst of ordinary Jerusalem neighborhoods. Residents maintain warm relations with neighbors and are well integrated in communal life as they regularly participate in events and activities at their local synagogues and community centers.
Keeping Up with Public Demand
At Alei Siach we are always trying to keep up with the needs of our residents. That’s why we have also established apartments for married couples with Down Syndrome and other developmental delays. Such couples live under constant supervision that enables them to establish their very own Jewish home.
Due to public demand, this past year we opened a special apartment for young children diagnosed with severe autism whose parents could no longer continue raising them at home without it taking its toll on the rest of the family.
Alei Siach is the only institution in the religious community that has been approved by the welfare ministry to establish housing for residents with autism.
Also due to public demand, plans are in motion to establish additional apartments in other cities outside Jerusalem.
Individualized Progress Plans
At Alei Siach we feel that the key to successful lives for our residents lies in our multi-disciplinary, comprehensive personal progress plans that are drawn up annually for each and every resident. Much effort is invested in these plans, which are put together by all the professional individuals who come in contact with the resident.
In addition, the residents themselves are active participants in these plans. They sit with us, they are consulted first about their preferences, and together a personal progress plan is developed step by step. Also present are parents, staff coordinators and other professionals. The plan outline includes an evaluation of both strengths and struggles, and realistic short-term and long-term goals for the coming year. Follow up includes biweekly meetings to evaluate progress, to see what’s working and what’s not, how well it’s working, what if any changes need to be made, and how to implement them.
Since each progress plan is individual, every detail is matched up to that resident’s needs in all areas, from rehabilitative activities and mastering hygiene to coping with the difficulties of transitioning from home to independent living, social changes, using “smart” technology, and even preparing for marriage in relevant instances.
The success of our personal progress plans has led Alei Siach residents to unprecedented achievements, many of which seemed impossible at first.
The professionals who help us make it happen are constantly amazed at our residents’ substantial progress and the realization of their abilities and talents in areas close to their hearts. As an additional benefit, all participating residents become calmer, more attentive and more cooperative.
Each personal progress plan also includes free time, which is actually an integral part of the entire plan meant to help residents acquire independence and life skills. The wealth of activities available to each resident include a long list of rehabilitative treatment sessions, recreational courses, and personalized special time that includes time alone with a counselor, attending a performance and other fun activities.
These activities are scheduled for afternoons and evenings when residents return from their studies or work day, and they take place at Alei Siach’s Occupation Center, in local community centers and other outside locations, or at home in the apartment.
Recreational activities include computer courses, art, crafts, hydrotherapy, sports, animal therapy, riding therapy, home economics and cooking, music therapy, psychodrama, bibliotherapy, Judaic studies, remedial instruction, sport therapy according to the Elbaum method, snoezelen and more.