Health care experts estimate that 100,000 individuals will suffer some type of brain injury this year in Massachusetts. Of those, 5,000 will suffer a severe, life altering and permanently disabling brain injury. It could be your child, parent, sibling or friend. Sadly, access to long-term rehabilitation and care that people need after a brain injury is extremely limited. A 2014 report on brain injury by the Commonwealth noted “…brain injury is a substantial public health issue in MA.” It also noted that the few public programs available meet just a tiny fraction of the need.
Carrol and Doug Stephens founded Supportive Living in 1991 after their 17-year-old son, Scott survived a car accident that left him permanently brain-injured and severely disabled. As they planned for long-term housing, they learned that most survivors of brain injury were institutionalized in state hospitals or nursing homes due to lack of appropriate residential and care options. The Stephens wanted a better quality of life for their son and searched for a supportive living program that also offered the chance to learn life-long, self-help skills. They wanted the least restrictive environment with the most opportunity for independent living. When they didn’t find any, the Stephens began their journey to develop appropriate supportive housing for Scott and other survivors of brain injury in the greater Boston area.
Today, Carrol is very much involved in overseeing Supportive Living. Scott is living in a private apartment at Warren House, Supportive Living’s Woburn, Mass., residence. He is able to work at a small business with a job coach, associate with other residents with similar disabilities, visit with nearby family, and participate in community activities, all while accessing the support he needs to eat, dress, and get through each day.