Journey to Care at Cedar Lake

Journey to Care at Cedar Lake

Man with Down Syndrome in pink shirt and black backwards cap stands next to lady in dark pink shirt

Alex’s Journey to Cedar Lake’s Park Place

When Cedar Lake was established in 1970, it aimed to provide parents with an option for their children, echoing the concern: “What happens to my child as I grow older, and who will care for them?” Now, marking 50 years since Cedar Lake Lodge’s inception in 1974, parents still grapple with this question as they contemplate the best care and opportunities for their children while planning for their own aging journey.

Carol and John embarked on their journey together, unaware of what life had in store for them. Over the years, they welcomed three children, including their youngest, Alex, born with Down syndrome in the mid-80s. Despite attending school, graduating, and traveling with his family, Alex required more support than his parents could provide alone.

Carol had long been aware of Cedar Lake and harbored the desire for Alex to receive support from one of its locations. However, like many families, she understood the lengthy wait times due to high demand from other families with loved ones facing intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Before Cedar Lake, the family did their utmost to support Alex and provide him with opportunities. He attended an adult daycare program and resided in a state-run center and a group home, yet these arrangements didn’t quite meet their expectations.

“I wish I had enrolled him on the Cedar Lake waiting list sooner,” Carol reflects. “He would have benefited from it immensely.” Cedar Lake advises families to apply for all relevant Medicaid waivers early in their child’s life and to join their waiting lists for residential and community support and care.

For over a decade, Carol patiently awaited the call from Cedar Lake informing her that Alex would soon receive support. During this time, she became involved in their parent support group, Caring Connections, staying abreast of Cedar Lake’s progress. In April, Carol joyously announced to the group that Alex was now receiving support at Cedar Lake’s Park Place location in New Castle. “I couldn’t have been happier to share this news,” she remarks.

In December 2023, Carol finally received the awaited call. Alex was next on the list. By February, Alex had settled into his new home at Park Place. “He walks in, and it feels like home for him. He really enjoys it,” Carol beams. She never imagined that Alex would one day reside at Park Place, which accommodates 16 individuals. Years ago, she toured the facility and admired its community atmosphere and dedicated staff. It was indeed a dream come true to know that Alex would receive lifelong support from Cedar Lake.

Reflecting on her journey, Carol advises other families not to wait until it’s too late to seek support for their children. Like many parents, she wished to keep Alex with her for as long as possible, but acknowledges that adding him to the waiting list earlier would have greatly benefited him.

Apply for Services

Learn more about applying for Cedar Lake services including community and residential-based care. Learn more about the Kentucky Medicaid Waiver opportunities.