Lifeskills to host open house today

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 4, 2010

NATCHEZ — Lifeskills of Natchez wants you to come by and see what they and their clients have been doing.

Lifeskills is a day treatment program for the mentally ill and mentally impaired, and from 1 to 3 p.m. today they will host an open house at their facility located at 14 Feltus St.

March is Intellectual Developmental Disabilities Month, and the purpose of the open house is to demonstrate to the community that the service is available, Project Coordinator Keith Karlson said.

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“We can answer any questions they have, and we can show them what our facility does,” he said.

Lifeskills clients spend five hours of every day at the facility, where they are involved in activities and classes that range from money management to learning cooking skills. They are also provided with lunch.

“The whole purpose of it is to promote socialization and prevent regression of illness,” Karlson said.

“We have so many different levels of people who are in our program,” he said. “They range from highly articulate to limited communication skills, but combining them is a wonderful thing to see how our participants work together.”

The program also works to help clients regain lost skills, Karlson said.

“I interviewed one (woman), she had gone through special education at Natchez High School and had been functioning and able to verbalize, but she had lived at home for 30 years until her mother died, and had lost ability to speak because she hadn’t had the socialization,” he said. “She will come into the program and hopefully regain those skills she lost.”

The Feltus Street facility is the second of two Lifeskills facilities in Adams County. While it caters to those age 50 and older — it is known as the Golden Years program — the other facility, located on Ferrell Street, is for those age 18-49.

“We have the two facilities so there is a continuity of care, but the needs of the groups are going to be different,” Karlson said.

All of the clients at Lifeskills are those with chronic conditions, but Karlson said the ultimate goal is to help them maintain more independence than they otherwise could.

“A lot of times you see people end up in nursing homes, and in fact we have clients who come from nursing homes,” he said.

During part of the open house, Lifeskills clients, who stay until 2 p.m. every day, will still be at the facility.

“You can see our facility, you can meet with the staff and we will have a little overlap with our senior participants,” Karlson said.