NAFCO directors tour Total Life House at UD
Resident Jesse Coleman tells visitors why he likes living in the Total Life House.
3:33 p.m., May 1, 2008--Jesse Coleman enthusiastically explained the features of his home as members of the National Adult Family Care Organization (NAFCO) toured Total Life House on South College Avenue, April 24. The tour was part of NAFCO activities on the Newark campus as UD hosted the annual NAFCO Board of Directors retreat, April 24-25.

Built by the Homes For Life Foundation, the residence is the 24th house built in Delaware by the foundation, which was founded by Micki Edelsohn and her husband, Wilmington neurologist Lanny Edelsohn.

The home is part of the Total Life Project, a demonstration transitional facility developed by UD's Center for Disabilities Studies (CDS) that's designed to give its residents managed experiences with independent living, employment, higher education and recreational activities. It also acts as a research facility for CDS and UD faculty and students.

NAFCO and CDS have similar missions--to promote long-term, adult family care instead of institutionalizing elders and adults with disabilities. So, when its board of directors chose UD to hold its semi-annual meeting, Beverly Stapleford, associate director of CDS and a NAFCO board member, included a tour of Total Life House as one of the group's activities.

“Hosting this meeting gives NAFCO members a chance to learn more about CDS and our presence at UD and within the disabilities community, and it gives NAFCO members a chance to see what the University is doing,” Stapleford said.

Beverly Stapleford, associate CDS director and a NAFCO board member, leads of a tour of the Total Life House for fellow members of the National Adult Family Care Organization board.

CDS has worked with NAFCO in the past to develop the Shared Living Certificate Program, a distance-learning program for people who share their homes and lives with adults with developmental disabilities. The program includes two video-based seminars to help caregivers enrich the lives of the people they support by promoting independence and helping individuals achieve their goals.

Stapleford said the two organizations are now working on a way to enable caregivers to obtain affordable health insurance through NAFCO.

“NAFCO board members are from a variety of states, and they are hoping to get information about UD's cutting-edge programs,” said Deborah Bain, CDS staffer, who conducted the tour with Coleman.

Coleman took great pride in showing NAFCO members around Total Life House and said he “loved it to death,” especially “doing his own laundry, working out at the gym and being on his own.”

For more information about NAFCO or CDS, contact Stapleford at (302) 831-4688 or [].

Information about the Total Life Project is available online at [], or by contacting Deborah Bain at (302) 831-8733 or [].

Article by Barbara Garrison
Photos by Kevin Quinlan