The Schuermer Family

David’s family faced challenges at every turn that started when his son Matthew was five years old. Matthew broke his arm and required surgery which led to the discovery of a degenerative muscular disease of which David’s wife Nancy also suffered.

Nancy, however, was diagnosed as an adult and eventually became wheelchair bound, but Matthew did not. Nancy spent the last 12 years of her life on a ventilator in a Louisville hospital.

David cared for Matthew at home until Matt graduated from high school. It was then that David realized that he was not able to provide an environment where Matthew could live his best life.  After he completed school, his socialization and community integration were non-existent.  He stopped interacting with others and David realized that he wasn’t living the rich live that he wanted for him.  In addition, the muscular disease was taking a greater toll on Matthew, and David wasn’t able to care for him safely at home. For all these reasons, David reached out to Cedar Lake with the hope we could provide an environment where Matthew would thrive, and not merely survive.

David learned about Cedar Lake from a neighbor who was a former employee.  Initially, he only knew about the Lodge and wasn’t sure that it was a good fit for Matthew. However, when he met with Jim Richardson, former Cedar Lake CEO, and learned about Cedar Lake Residences, he realized this was a wonderful option for Matthew.

One of the most unique and vital aspects of Cedar Lake’s services is our continuum of care.  Our ability to care for people with IDD at every stage of life was essential for Matthew.  He started out in one of our independent living programs, then, as his physical needs changed, he moved into a group home and then finally to the Lodge as the muscular dystrophy took a greater toll.

Matthew’s physical health declined, but not his mental health capacity.  David was concerned when Matthew’s physical needs required a move to the Lodge.  He asked, “who will be his community?”  He was assured that it was the staff at the Lodge who would be Matt’s community and indeed that was the case.  Matthew loved the Lodge staff and the social network he built with them was truly wonderful for him. David felt truly fortunate to have found a place like Cedar Lake to trust and take good care of Matthew.

Before Matthew transferred to the Lodge, David scheduled a meeting to meet with Lodge leadership to talk about the program of care Matthew would receive.  He assumed he would be meet with two or three people, but instead he walked into the room and 12 to 14 people were there to talk to him about how each one would be involved in Matthew’s care.  That meeting was remarkable and reassuring to David and reinforced his decision. “Cedar Lake delivered on everything that they said they would. I have nothing but good things to say about Cedar Lake. I don’t know how I would have made it to be honest without you, without their care.”

In the end, Matthew’s lungs couldn’t do what they were supposed to do, just like his mom’s. Matthew went to the hospital and had to be intubated. A Cedar Lake employee came and sat with Matthew all day, every day at Norton Hospital until he was moved to the same ventilator dependent facility as his mom.
Cedar Lake prolonged and enriched Matthew’s life in ways that David was unable to. He DJ’d every week on the radio, and he was able to attend Shine and went to prom with a date.  

David said that Nancy and Matthew blessed him with unconditional love.  “The love and care that Cedar Lake gave me and Matthew was priceless.”