New habilitation aide company sets up Burnham headquarters

BURNHAM – Happy Valley Hab-Aide is a new habilitation aide program with headquarters at 547 E. Freedom Ave. in Burnham.

And when they say headquarters, they don’t mean an office. While the organization’s proprietor, Angela Deamer, does have a small office in the rear corner of the building, the rest of the structure is dedicated to the needs of its clients.

“This is something that is special,” Deamer said of the home-like environment. Because of legal restrictions, many providers aren’t able to bring clients into their homes and cannot go into clients’ homes.

The way Happy Valley Hab-Aide is designed, high-functioning adults with mental disabilities can learn to cook, clean and complete basic home maintenance tasks. Headquarters provides a full kitchen and internet access to learn computer skills and seek jobs. Clients can learn how to apply for jobs and complete interviews. There is a blank hallway wall where clients can learn to paint using tape, brush and roller. Wii games help improve coordination skills and a large common area provides space to watch movies or play games on rainy days.

Happy Valley client Michelle Druckemiller has learned to make pasta salad and picked up basic gardening skills as she spends her days with Deamer. She has learned to make bank deposits as well.

“Money is a big thing,” she said.

Happy Valley clients spend time on arts and crafts projects and go on field trips also. Druckemiller particularly enjoys touring local facilities to see how products are made, but the group also visits state parks, amusement parks and restaurants. These activities are fun in addition to offering social learning experiences and opportunities for making healthy living choices.

Deamer said the goal of teaching clients these life skills is so they will be ready to live on their own. Elderly parents of adult children with special needs typically don’t want their sons or daughters to have to enter a group home when the parents are no longer able to care for them.

The cost savings is tremendous as well, Deamer said. A high-functioning individual can live in a small apartment for significantly less than he or she would pay to live in a group facility – even if that individual has a need that would require constant companionship.

Happy Valley Hab-Aide opened on April 21 and currently has about a dozen employees serving 10 clients.

Happy Valley employees have to pass state child abuse and criminal background checks and have some experience in the intellectual disabilities field, either professionally or personally.

For more information on Happy Valley Hab-Aide, contact Deamer at 715-6832 or