Don’t Take Life For Granted
By Krista Forck, Disability Advocate
Many times we take things for granted such as choosing the kind of meal we have for dinner or sitting outside enjoying the sunshine. Well, not Carol, a senior who recently transitioned back into her own home from a nursing home.
Carol spent the past ten years residing in various nursing homes due to her disability. Unable to choose meals, unable to see holiday lights at Christmas, unable to go on trips with friends, but always wanting to live on her own again.“It’s been awhile since I’ve had this kind of freedom and I love it!” said Carol about her new home and new found freedom. She told me that fixing simple meals for herself gives her joy. It’s that kind of freedom she won’t ever take for granted again.
Making the transition from nursing home or institutional setting to your own home isn’t easy. Consumers like Carol face many obstacles and learning to overcome them takes patience and perseverance.
As a Disability Advocate at SCIL, I help transition consumers obtain items they need such as getting a copy of their birth certificate, navigating social security, applying for Money Follows the Person grants, finding and setting up an accessible home, learning life skills, transportation, access to shopping and medical and on the list goes.
When looking for a home, Carol found a roommate, but their home needed a wooden ramp installed. They rented and neither of them was able to afford the modifications, so SCIL donated materials and built the ramp with an agreement with the landlord.
“I am really enjoying going outside without help,” said Carol about the ramp. “I plan on taking some short trips with a friend soon and attending church camp next summer when I get stronger.
“For now, Carol takes each day one day at a time and says that she is enjoying life so much more than before. She has set goals to work toward making her meals and washing her laundry again. She would like to gain more strength and as much independence as possible. Moving out is just the first step and there are many barriers to maintaining independence. In the coming months, we will help Carol with new challenges so she can remain independent.
Last year, SCIL provided seventeen people transition services to living independently in the community. The need for transitions and de-institutionalization services has grown significantly because of limited financial options and institutional bias.
SCIL has expertise to help those ready to take the challenge because we know community and home based programs to assist people with disabilities in achieving goals of independence.
If you have questions about transitioning or would like to donate household items or cash to assist a person with disabilities, please contact us at 417-886-1188. For more information visit Southwest Center for Independent Living transitions and de-institutionalization page.