KenCrest Helps These 3 PA Sisters
From receiving Adult Community Living services to working in Birth-to-Three, the Messmer sisters are taking over KenCrest.
By Sydney Kerelo
In 1999, Sue Messmer accepted her position as a Physical Therapist within the Montgomery County Birth-to-Three Program at KenCrest, changing her life and her two sisters’ lives. Being the youngest of three, Sue Messmer wasn’t expecting much from her KenCrest coworkers, but shortly after joining the team, they changed everything for her family.
When Messmer began working at KenCrest, her older sister Diane, who has intellectual disabilities, was diagnosed with Dementia. Diane was living with their father at the time, but he soon discovered that he could not provide her with the proper care and attention she needed.
“At the time, our staff was having weekly team meetings, and during my first meeting, Roseann Adamo, the Executive Director of the Birth to Five Home and Community Based Program, overheard me telling one of the other therapists that we were having a tough time because Diane wasn’t doing well at home,” says Messmer. “The caseworker was trying to find her a placement, but there were no other placements besides a nursing home or an institution, which I did not want.”
“The next thing I knew, Roseann Adamo was telling me that I needed to go into the conference room and talk to the person who oversaw the residential homes at the time,” laughs Messmer. “She set the whole meeting up, and I was able to get Diane into one of our Adult Community Living Homes.”
With Roseann’s help, Messmer got her sister Diane into a perfect residential home in Lansdale, Pennsylvania where she could receive the proper support; and be close enough to her sisters so that they could visit at least once a week for dinner or breakfast. Diane would even stay at her eldest sister’s house from time to time.
“Diane is the middle child,” says Messmer. “My older sister, Anne, is ten years older than me, so Diane and I were very close growing up; my friends were her friends, and we always did everything together. While my older sister Anne was stricter with Diane.”
Diane even told Sue that she considers her the “favored sister” because she’s more lenient with her. But, while Sue may be the favored sister, the trio is extremely close with one another. The sisters take fun-filled vacations with each other quite often. They’ve been to Disney a few times because Diane loves hugging the characters; they’ve been on cruises and little day trips. This fall, the trio even made an overnight visit to Longwood Gardens.
“Diane loves to go out,” laughs Messmer. “Even when she’s home, they’ll take her out shopping, to eat and go to Walmart or the Dollar Store or even walk around the mall. I get excellent communication from her home because they know me personally; they’ll send me texts or emails, which is great.”
Messmer works in the Birth-to-Three Program at KenCrest, helping students and parents accomplish their motor skill goals like crawling, sitting up, walking, etc. Messmer will meet with her clients in their homes weekly to develop a strategic plan and enact that with the parents.
“It’s nice to see the children and their parents at home or in school, their natural environment, as opposed to taking them into a medical facility,” says Messmer. “You don’t get much out of them when they’re out of their comfort zones.”
Children in the Birth-to-Three program experience developmental delays or have an intellectual disability requiring additional support. Messmer works with these children to help them overcome their challenges and teach their parents ways to help them succeed.
“It’s funny because some of the people that support Diane don’t know that I also work at KenCrest,” laughs Messmer.
Interested in learning more about KenCrest’s Birth-to-Three program? Click the link below!