Participant A was happily working at a leading hotel chain as a chef. A series of events led to him losing an eye, the death of his mother and the death of his brother. This sent Participant A into a depression coupled with addiction. He was sent to a nursing home after a divorce and illness.
Participant B had a stroke while living independently. After a hospital stay, she was sent to a nursing home. Her six children sold her belongings.
Participant C was a young man with a future in technology when he was diagnosed with a degenerative disease. He was hospitalized and sent to a nursing home because his care needs were not able to be met by his family.
Once a person is in a nursing home for an extended time, their income is paid to the facility to cover their care, and they are given between $30 and $50 per month. If a person does not have family or other financial resources, it is almost impossible to return to independent living in the community. As little a $30 per month (or as much as $50 per month) is not enough to take care of personal needs, let alone to save for the first month’s rent and security deposit, and other expenses that are involved in moving to an apartment.
Money Follows the Person is a state and federal program designed to assist qualified people in returning to community living. The program provides funds to pay the first month’s rent and security deposit. It also provides funds for household items and furniture.
Centers for Independent Living, like Paraquad, are contracted through the state to provide counseling and transition planning to people in nursing homes. One of the foundations of the program is based on the integration mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires public agencies to provide services “in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities.”
Centers for Independent Living have been on the front line in advocating for programs like Money Follows the Person. CILs have used the program to transition many people out of institutions and returned participants like the ones profiled here to independent lives in the community.
Rozita Miller is the Transition Coordinator at Paraquad. She can be reached at email@example.com.