On most Wednesday mornings, Robert gets up, gets ready, and drives to work. On this particular Wednesday morning in April, he ended up driving himself to the doctor because he cut his hand. It was a deep cut that needed three stitches.
“They almost put the wrong stitches in!” Robert said as he held up his bandaged right hand. Once the doctor did find the correct dissolvable stitches, Robert had a hard time watching the procedure.
For most people, dealing with accidents is something we all do once in awhile. For Robert, his ability to handle a morning like this shows how capable he is living and working on his own, despite his intellectual disabilities.
Fraser is helping Robert to be independent. He lives at Fraser Hopkins Court, a Fraser Independent Living apartment building for people with disabilities whocan live on their own with some assistance. He has lived in Hopkins Court since November 2010, and he previously lived at Fraser Excelsior Court, a similar apartment complex for people with disabilities, for more than 10 years.
“I like it. It’s bigger than my old place,” Robert said about his new apartment, which is very close to downtown Hopkins. “I can walk to the movies, and I can walk to get ice cream. I couldn’t walk anywhere at my old place.”
Not that Robert is limited by transportation. Robert has a car and drives to his full-time job at the General Mills Ad Warehouse, where he works with in-store promotional materials, posters, coupons, and labels. Robert has received employment training and work placement services for a number of years.
Robert gets help with shopping, cooking, cleaning, appointments, and planning his activities three days per week. He used to get help every day, but he doesn’t need as much help now because he has learned how to handle his own medications and get himself to work in the morning.
After work, Robert likes to go bowling, go for bike rides, and in the winter he likes to ski. “I’m a great skier,” he said. When he can, he skis by himself or with a neighbor at Buck Hill. Originally from Puerto Rico, he learned to ski when he moved to New York as a young adult, and now his wall is full of Special Olympics medals for skiing.
“My sister skis, but I’m a lot faster.”