Indian Creek Foundation Feels Like Family: The Gallo Family’s Story

Many of the individuals who live within our Residential homes in the area have local family who visit regularly. What our Residential Program offers is a safe and comfortable living environment for people who need constant care, which can only be achieved with a full staff. Our homes are set up for Direct Support Professionals to continually be on site at the ratio required for providing proper care.

This is exactly what the Gallo family needed when they moved their son, Anthony, into an Indian Creek home over 25 years ago. At that time, Anthony was an active young man who needed help with basic activities of daily living and attentive supervision to keep him safe. Now that Anthony is older, and his care needs have advanced with his age, his mom is incredibly grateful to have our staff to watch over him. Marilyn Gallo recently shared how Anthony, and really their whole family, came to be part of the Indian Creek family.

Finding the Best Residential Adult Program

Prior to moving to Indian Creek Foundation, Anthony attended a school program. His parents began working with Montgomery County to transition him to a residential program once he aged out of that. They fell in love with Indian Creek Foundation during their very first tour.

Marilyn shared, “They had so much to offer, and the staff was extremely caring. It just felt like family from the beginning, and it still feels like that today. I’m still good friends with some of the staff from Anthony’s first house!”

Anthony has multiple diagnoses, which is fairly common for individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Often, the complexity of a person’s challenges will intensify over time. When Anthony was much younger, his primary diagnosis was autism, and he loved playing sports. He also had seizures. At that time, he needed constant supervision to make sure he wouldn’t walk into traffic, touch a hot stove, or get hurt during a seizure. Over the years, Anthony’s seizures and weakened immune system have led to brain damage. This has decreased his mobility and eyesight. He still needs supervision, but now it is to prevent falls and choking. He also needs much more help with mobility, dressing, and meal preparation.

Marilyn said how much she and Anthony appreciate his staff’s attention when he occasionally gets admitted to the hospital. Marilyn visits him every day when his weak immune system lands him in an in-patient setting, and she is grateful that people from Indian Creek will visit and call to check on him. When he is ready to be discharged, his ICF staff works in partnership with the hospital to make sure he really is ready to be released back home. They are always genuinely concerned for his well-being.

Enjoying an Active Social Life

Anthony has moved a few times over the years. His current home has a caregiver to resident ratio designed to meet a higher level of needs. Marilyn works with Anthony’s home staff, which includes Direct Support Professionals, a Program Coordinator, and a Residential Supervisor, to make sure he gets as much social activity as possible. His current roommates are pretty quiet, so Anthony’s supervisor takes him to another home once a week to spend time with the ladies there who love to talk. He also attends off-site community programs, participates in music therapy, and will go to performances or games when the opportunity arises.

Marilyn also enjoys that Anthony is part of a closeknit group in his home. When she visits, which is often, she feels like everyone is family. Anthony’s housemates are his buddies, or even his brothers, so they are very important to her as well. One year, she coordinated with his staff to cook a full Thanksgiving dinner for the house and simply loved every minute of it.

The Staff Loves What They are Doing Here, and it Shows

Marilyn ran into someone recently who remembered when Anthony first moved in at Indian Creek and how he loved to play soccer and basketball. She said that kind of memory is the perfect example of just how caring everyone is. She would not be able to provide the 24/7 care that Anthony has always needed. By allowing him to move into his own home, the entire family has balance, and she can continue being a great mom. Anthony has 4 siblings, all with their own families now, who enjoy visiting when they can. Anthony’s dad passed away a few years ago, but he had also always been right there alongside Marilyn to visit.

Marilyn would advise younger families to take advantage of all the opportunities available to their child. There are so many more options for children and young adults with special needs today that weren’t around back then, and she is glad to see this change. When it comes to considering a residential program, she would remind families that this is the best thing she could have done for her son. She was his voice and his advocate, making sure he got continuous care in a wonderful organization. Getting the right resources for your child, even if it takes them out of your home, is how you can provide the best care possible. Professional caregivers are a resource, not a substitute, so that you can be the best parent your child needs.