The Center for Accessible Living is an innovative leader in empowering all people to achieve their goal of independent living while involving the entire community.
This video was produced and made possible through Scope of Australia.
My name is Jackie. I was raised by my grandparents. When I had surgery on my hip in my early thirties, I left my grandparent’s home because my grandmother wasn’t able to tend to me anymore. I spent almost a year at Kosair Children’s Hospital after my surgery and then was put into a nursing home.
My experiences in the nursing home were not good. For a woman in her early thirties, I had very little freedom. The staff told me what to do and when to do it, they wanted to put me to bed at seven in the evening. I had no independence as a young adult. I had to sign a paper every time I went somewhere, and if I went out at night I had to back by eleven pm. One night I went to Jim Porter’s Bar and stayed out after midnight. When I returned the staff made me wait until after they did their rounds to put me to bed. They were not very happy with me, but I didn’t care because I am an adult.
While in the nursing home, the facility wasn’t going to pay for an electric wheelchair, which I need to move around independently. With no other choice, a friend gave me a used power chair and shortly after, it caught on fire with me in it at the nursing home. I was scared and unable to get out myself, and yelled for someone to get me out of it.
I used to go to the Center for Accessible Living to get away from the nursing home. I would stay all day sometimes. The Center had regular meetings with me to plan for me to live outside the nursing home on my own. When the nursing home found out that I was trying to leave, I received negative attention. They did not want to help me to the bathroom when I wanted, or give me my medicine when I need it.
Once I was out on my own, the Center for Accessible Living helped me find an apartment, Medicaid provided a power chair and I used a local agency for attendant care. For that agency, I had to be home at five in the evening, so they could feed me and put me to bed. Although I was now living in the community, I still had restrictions on my independence. Eventually, the Center got money for an attendant care program, which I got onto shortly after. In fact, I helped the center and other places in Kentucky get the Personal Care Attendant Program. I protested and advocated for the program here in Louisville. I protested for my rights and for the rights of so many others, though I did not go to jail.
The Personal Care Attendant Program allows me to be the boss of my attendant, so that I can live more independently. I can hire and fire who I want and most importantly, I can set my own schedule on my time. For the first time in my life I was eating and going to bed when I chose to, not when someone else wanted me to. I was able to eat food that I wanted to eat, not just whatever was put in front of me. I now have the choice of doing what I want without being told what to do, I can go to a baseball game if I want to. There have been many changes in the staff who run the program at the Center, but the program has stayed and helped many more people along with me.
My first apartment wasn’t as accessible as it should have been, but it was the only thing I could get if I wanted to move out at that time. I was leaving in a hurry and it was the only apartment that was available to me without being on a waiting list. I lived there for four years until I had to move due to some maintenance problems with the apartment that weren’t being fixed. At that time I asked the Center for Accessible Living’s housing program to help me find an accessible place to live, without breaking my pocketbook. They gave me a list and I went through it filling out applications and calling them. I was on a waiting list for three years waiting for accessible housing, until finally I was at the top of a list and got my new home.
I used the same wheelchair for twelve years, needing a new one in 1990, I still had to wait five years to get the replacement paid for. The next wheelchair that I needed, I researched and found myself, not wanting to wait for the home health agency and their services. I met the owners of the wheelchair company here and advocated for them to get the ball rolling for me. This wheelchair took only three month to get.
The Center for Accessible Living has been at three different locations, the first being on 8th and Jefferson. They moved to 3rd and Kentucky and then to 3rd and Broadway. Now I am an executive board member at the Center. Before that I was on the advisory board for the Council on Mental Retardation. I try and stay active and give back some of what I have learned myself in the community.
My name is Ian. I am 16 years old. I have never had a job before, and did not have any idea how to look for one or what to say about my disability. I started working with an employment specialist at the Center last year to learn how to look for a job. He gave me some job applications and had me practice completing them. I am glad he did. I thought all applications were the same, but they are not. It would have been hard for me to look for a job for real if I had not understood this. He taught me how to keep my ID and Social Security information and reference information in a notebook so I would have it for job applications. He also helped me learned how to tie a tie for a job interview. He also helped me understand how to handle issues about my disability, how to act while waiting for an interview, and how to shake hands with an interviewer.
I went to the Employment Day for Youth last spring. There I learned how to write a resume using the skills I gained in Scouts, volunteering and cooking at home. I also listened to a lady talk about how to dress for a job interview. Another lady talked about the best ways to get a job when you have never had one before. She helped me a lot. I continued to come to the Center after that to work with my employment specialist.
At this last Employment Day, I came after school and went to a mock interview. The man told me the things I did right and gave me some ideas on things I could do better. Soon after that, I turned 16 and started to look for a job. I put in a lot of applications and talked to everybody I knew about what I was looking for. One waitress at a restaurant gave me a job lead which generated an interview, but I didn’t get the job. Then, after nearly a month of looking, I put an application in online to Kroger. This was Friday night at home. Saturday afternoon the manager called me and asked could I come in Sunday for an interview. I did, and I got the job. I am working now as a bagger and utility clerk, which means bringing in the grocery carts. I really like it.
Thanks to the Center and my employment specialist for helping me.
"I went to this home to do my ramp inspection. Tracy (Mother) directed me to the ramp in the back yard. In the back yard, I was greeted by a 4 year old boy who said “this is our new ramp” smiling as he ran down the ramp to a swing set located in the back yard. The young
boy then said, “look what my sister can do,” as he smiled proudly.
Then, 6 year old Kirsten came out with her walker with the most beautiful smile as she proceeded down the ramp to join her brother at the swing set.
Her parents told me that the ramp had changed their lives. Kirsten could now go outside and play with her brother for the first time. Then Kirsten came up to me, smiled, and said “Thank you very much!” She went back to playing and moving around the back yard. This is a perfect example of how much difference a ramp can make in peoples lives."
- John Leonard, Ramps Program Manager
As Housing Program Manager I have many things about my job that I love. But nothing compares to transitioning someone out of a nursing home into the community. This story is not so unique but the man is. John has lived for the past couple of years at a Nursing Home. He fell about three years ago and broke his lower leg and ankle. He was told by the doctors that he would never walk on his own again. After two years in a Nursing Home and many hours of rehab, John not only walks but walks with out any assistive equipment.
I went to all the section 8 meeting with John and talked with him over the phone on numerous occasions. John just wanted to be out
on his own again. The Center made his dreams come true through the Olmstead Program Vouchers. With the help of volunteers
and Dismas workers to help move
him, we were able to get him back into the community. The picture of him shows him on his first day at his new home signing his new lease.
The saying "A picture can speak a thousand words." is so true here. John is beaming with joy that his dream of once again being on his own
and independent had come true. Beside helping John this also helps the men at the Dismas House. With their help, they too can see that they
are making a difference.
- Lee Ann Thomas, Housing Program Manager
I lived in a nursing home for twelve years and some of the situations I saw were unbelievable. I woke up one morning and I found a naked man standing at the end of my bed. It was a resident who they could not control. On numerous occasions, myself and other residents would buzz for staff to come to the room and you could wait for hours because staff would turn off the buzzers at the desk. Imagine yourself living in a house that smelled like urine 24 hours a day. It is not a pleasant experience that anyone would like to live with. One night I went to a Christmas party but didn’t get back until after 11 PM. I had to sit in my wheelchair for over 3 hours until they finally decided to put me in bed because I had not gotten back by 11:00, which was the curfew. Because of this, the doctor rescinded my pass privileges for a month. This is not the way someone in their twenties should be forced to live.
Because my parents had both died and I had no other family, I then became involved with the Center for Accessible Living, and I discovered that I could live on my own with some help. That is where the Attendant Care Program has helped me so much. I was able to get out of the nursing home and start living on my own, which I have done for the last nineteen years. This program has been invaluable to me and to so many others who live on their own with the help of the Attendant Care Program. There are so many others who can greatly benefit with more funding. You don’t know what it is like to live in a nursing home. You have hardly any freedom to even try to live a normal life. So many of you take it for granted that when you lie down at night, to go to sleep in your own home, that you will be safe for the night. I know you have read the horror stories about people living in nursing homes, especially young people who have been raped, either by an employee or a mentally disabled patient. This should not happen to anyone and won’t with more funding for the Attendant Care Program. So I ask you, no I beg you, please make more funding available so no one will have to endure that horrifying experience. When I left the nursing home is when my life really began. It is impossible for me to describe the way I really felt. The first time I entered a grocery store to purchase what I really wanted to eat instead of being told what I had to eat, or the first time I answered my own phone, there are just no words to describe it. The only way I can describe my feelings about that is, I was like a bird out of a cage and I want that feeling for others.
Through the Attendant Care Program I can now decide on what I want to eat or what time I want to go to bed, instead of having someone else make those decisions for me. If I want to go out to a concert or to a ballgame, I can do so without having to listen to the nurse’s aides talk about me getting back too late to put me to bed at 8 or 9 PM. Does this sound like the life you want to live -- to be in by 8 or 9 instead of listening to a concert or watching a basketball game? These are just a few of the reasons that it is so important that we have more funding made available for the Attendant Care Program, so others can have the same opportunity that I speak of. Thank you for listening to my story.
After moving here from Tennessee to be with my mother, I saw a flyer for a peer support group for people with disabilities at the Center for Accessible Living. I asked about when the next meeting was going to be and attended that meeting. During the meeting I met with staff, including my Employment Specialist to help me get a job. I was able to discuss benefits with someone as well, since I had been trying to apply for SSI. I was grateful for this meeting because I had no other source of income at this time.
My Employment Specialist listened to me. We were able to talk about my past job experience. She was able to help remember all the jobs that have held in the past, including dates and supervisors, in order to determine what jobs I should put on applications. Together we developed a resume and put together a list of good references and filled out several job applications. My Employment Specialist was also able to help me talk to some employers to determine what types of places would be the best fit for me. She also sent me to Vocational Rehabilitation. At VR I was able to get help purchasing clothes for an interview.
I am glad that I am able to work. I have been working at Ryan’s Steakhouse for almost a year now, washing dishes and cleaning for them. I started out part-time but have recently found out that I may start working full time now. The staff at the center still are there for me. My Employment Specialist is still here whenever I have trouble at work, to listen and help me figure out how to handle it. I have also recently decided to move out. The Independent Living Specialist at the center and is helping me look a place to stay, and with questions I have about housing applications. Staff at the center have really been able to help me out a lot and I am glad they are here.
305 W. Broadway, Suite 200
Louisville, KY 40202
Voice: (502) 589-6620
TTY: (502) 589-6690
Toll Free: (888) 813-8497
Click Below to
1051 N. 16th Street, Suite C
Murray, KY 42071
Voice: (270) 753-7676
TDD: (270) 767-0549
Fax: (270) 753-7729
Toll Free: (888) 261-6194
Click Below to
|AMY JONES - Independent Living Specialist||108|
|ANGIE GAHAFER LINDSEY- Interpreter Coordinator||105|
|BARBARA ROBBINS - Fiscal Assistant||121|
|BEVERLY ALFORD - Director of Administration||118|
|BOBBIE JAMES - Community Advocate||105|
|CECE CLARK - Program Assistant||133|
|DEA SOKACZ - Fiscal Assistant||102|
|FRANCES HURRIGAN - Reception/Program Assistant||127|
|GAYLE NUNN - Community Work Incentives Coordinator||123|
|JOHN LEONARD - Ramp Program Coordinator||133|
|JAN DAY - Chief Executive Officer||119|
|KEITH HOSEY - Associate Director||109|
|LARRY HENSLEY - Community Work Incentives Coordinator / Independent Living Specialist (Northern KY)||111|
|LARRY HOSEY - Outreach Specialist / First Impression Suit Closet||130|
|LEE ANN THOMAS - Housing Specialist||116|
|MAUREEN SENG - Program Assistant||103|
|MICHAEL MARKIEWICZ - Chief Financial Officer||103|
|PETER EICHHORN - Independent Living Specialist||101|
|PRENTHA COCHRAN - Bookkeeper||101|
|ELAINE SPAULDING - Independent Living Specialist (Employment)||126|
|STACEE SPURLING - Independent Living Specialist (Northern KY)||133|
|STEPHANIE BRIMMER - Personal Care Assistance Program Manager||110|
|TIM SLOAN - Lead Community Work Incentives Coordinator||115|
|CARRISSA JOHNSON - Independent Living Specialist||Murray|
|JEANNE M. GALLIMORE - Branch Director||Murray|
|JOHNNA CANTER - Benefits Specialist||Murray|
|KRISTI WELCH - Fiscal Operations and IT Coordinator||Murray|
|SUSAN THARPE - Independent Living Specialist||Murray|
|PATRICK JOHANNESON - Eastern KY PCA coordinator||Eastern Kentucky|
|LANA MCLIMORE - Community Work Incentives Coordinator - Lexington / Frankfort Areas||Eastern Kentucky|
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