Anne Marie is a person who is fully committed to others. That is her superpower.
One day she realized that she had to do something to help people with multiple severe disabilities. And that is just what she did. With the support of a group of friends, she began to think about how to create recreational spaces for disabled people. Out of this idea arose the Parques de Integración (Integration Parks) in Madrid and Alicante. After building them they decided to create the foundation in 2009, a therapy center offering a variety of treatments (sensory therapy, hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, therapy with dogs, etc.). At a later stage, inspired by some of the initiatives in her home country of Holland, she launched the assisted living home in which six people with multiple severe disabilities currently live.
This home has become a groundbreaking project in Spain which demonstrates that adults with multiple severe disabilities can live together in supervised accommodation. 9 people work to ensure that everything runs smoothly. All of them do so with a smile. Everything in the house is very spacious: the rooms, the corridors and the bathrooms shared by two rooms. With the help of adapted stretchers and harnesses, the carers support all of the residents. “The main collaborators are their parents, says Anne Marie. Without their help, none of this would be possible. They are fully involved in the care and the adaptations needed for their children. Our staff are the other key component”.
Obdulia is an example of these dedicated parents. She visits her son Arturo at the Fundación Lukas home in San Juan de Alicante every day. The fact is this is not a residence, it is a home. As well as Arturo, Astrid, Irene and up to a total of six people live here, but there is room for one more person who can experience the home on a temporary basis, like Ignacio, a boy from Madrid who spent six months at the home, during which time he improved dramatically.
In 2014 the foundation opened its therapy center. In 2018, 1,400 people with diverse disabilities received therapy. The residents of the home go to their day center in the morning and then these six housemates go back to the home in the afternoon.
Anne Marie would like the project to be replicated elsewhere, and for researchers to come from other regions of Spain to study it. “Because we know it works. It undoubtedly improves the quality of life of people with multiple severe disabilities. Because they live alongside us and they are part of us. I would like this home to get more publicity. The rest depends on the political will and uniting our efforts. We do not have enough time and resources for anything more” states Anne Marie.
At the FLK center, Arturo, Irene, Astrid, Adrián, Braulio and Ismael, six people with multiple severe disabilities live among us, close at hand, so that we can see them, and live with them. The people living in this supervised accommodation could well be our neighbors from the floor above. Find out more about them. Through this alone we have taken a thousand steps forward in their integration.