Skip to main content

Independent By Design

By Becky Gustofson

Published on September 19, 2019

Think back to the first cell phone you had and compare that to the cell phone you carry now. For some, we can picture a bag phone, or phones that were the size of a landline phone (if you even know what that is). Technology continues to advance and the cell phone you carry now likely has the capabilities to play movies, check social media, take photos, be a flashlight, a compass, you name it. The opportunities have become endless.

The advancements in technology spread to adaptive equipment that is available to individuals with disabilities. There was a time that the focus of adaptive equipment was solely on communication or assisting with completing activities of daily living. Now, the opportunities have broadened and there is a shift to bring as much independence to these individuals as possible.

In 2013, CCRI began a program called Independence by Design. This program focused on giving individuals an opportunity to live in apartments with less staffed hours and allow them an opportunity to expand their independence. The individuals first served in this program had teams that looked at their areas of risks living alone and developed ways that those risks could be mitigated by the use of electronic monitoring. What exactly did that look like? One of the first individuals served in this environment needed to ensure that medications were taken. Electronic monitoring was in place to ensure the medication drawer was opened at each medication time. One individual struggled with food consumption. Electronic monitoring was in place to track the frequency those drawers and cabinets where food was kept were opened. Just as the name of the program speaks, it is designed to give that individual the level of independence designed to cater to their needs.


At this time there are more than 25 people served in CCRI’s Independence by Design program and there continue to be opportunities for growth. For these individuals, there is one person monitoring the alarms/alerts for each individual and is available if needed. Also, each individual may still have some hours staffed where. These hours are a time where CCRI supports them with active treatment to continue working on areas in their life that they just aren’t ready to be independent with quite yet.

CCRI is the only provider in the area that has a program this large. The plan is to continue to develop and modify the services that are available if technology exists and advances. It is hard to say what developments will be coming, but the CCRI team is committed to adapt what services are available to the individuals that we serve to allow them a life as independent as they are striving to attain.

Join us for TableScapes on Tuesday, October 8 to hear more about what technology is doing and to support growth in this program. Tickets are $60 ($30 being a tax-deductible donation) and are available at