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Leading independent lives

You must be serious about opening a residence for the developmentally handicapped when you make the effort to build the home yourself.

Bob Krueger has done just that in the middle of Grass Valley with a quiet, custom home in a wooded area on Bragg Street that opened last week.

“This facility is designed for people to be on their own,” Krueger said. “The idea is to get them living independently.”



The Bragg House already is home to four men including Krueger’s son, Alan, with room for two more. One of the men, in his 40s, came from a similar home. The others, all in their early 20s, realized they needed to leave their family nests.

The men pay for the service with funds from Social Security and the state. The state has a contract with Krueger and pays him a stipend for each resident.




Krueger is a psychotherapist with 38 years in the mental health industry, including experience working with handicapped people. As a licensed contractor, Krueger built the bulk of the home.

The on-site staff, Kristin Harrington and Rob Glanz, take care of the residents, along with their new daughter, Chloe. The weekend duties are handled by Anita Tutt. They help the handicapped men with day-to-day tasks that most people take for granted.

“Each one has an program plan to learn life skills and behavior skills,” Krueger said.

They are taught to wash their clothes, keep their rooms clean, cook under supervision, ride the bus and handle money.

“We’re just starting to establish a routine,” said Glanz, who has worked at other facilities. “We make sure their rooms are cleaned and looking nice.”

Three of the men work at Pride Industries, while a fourth goes to a continuation school in the Nevada Union school district. Each rides a bus to work or school and back.

“As much as we can, we incorporate them into the community,” Krueger said. “The more we do, the more esteem we build for them.”

The clients have plenty of free time in the afternoon for television or video games, either in their rooms or a large living room. Around dinner time, they are encouraged to help prepare the meal and set the table.

“My big thing is home-style dinners, so everybody comes together at least once a day to talk about their days,” Harrington said.

After helping to clear the table and enjoy some more spare time, “they’re all in their rooms with the doors shut by 9 p.m.,” she said.

The four residents respond well to routine and the stability it brings to their lives, Harrington and Krueger said.

“Most people like structure,” Krueger said. “The more you have for them, the better they are.”

“It’s good,” resident Mark Miller said. He is a sports enthusiast who watches games in his room at night and goes to school during the day. “I liked my house, but I like it here too.”

The residents also learn to interact with one another, something that rarely happens for the handicapped living in traditional homes, Krueger said.

Family and friends are encouraged to visit Bragg House, he said. “We want people to come an visit whether its the neighbors or parents who are interested in the facility.”

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To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail davem@theunion.com or call 477-4237.

Contacting

Bragg House

The home is located at 10511 Bragg Ave. in Grass Valley in a home off the street. The phone number is 477-5965.


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