REACH Consumer Success Stories
REACH of Dallas Consumer Success Stories
S. had hip replacement surgery and needed a manual wheelchair to assist with her recovery. She borrowed a manual wheelchair from the center’s loaner assistive technology devices/equipment program. She made a full recovery after 10 months and returned the wheelchair to REACH.
P. says she is living her dream. She lived in a nursing home for six years and had been homeless before that. She got sick living on the street and after receiving treatment at a local hospital she was discharged to a nursing home because she had no permanent home. P. says she was “told what to do and when to do it” while living in the nursing home. She was “depressed and got sick and tired of people taking my things out of my room.” “I would have given them the items had they just asked,” she says. After learning about REACH’s Home By Choice program, P. met with Relocation Specialist Mavis Ravin and began developing a plan of action to relocate to a place of her own choice. Ms. Ravin helped P. get a housing voucher so that she “would not have to pay too much for rent.” P. was able to move and reports that she is “so excited about my new beautiful apartment.” “I was given furniture, linens, and clothing. Ms. Ravin and I went to the grocery store and got food and household items. I love the freedom that I have and the independence. I want to thank REACH for all the help that I got and for the beautiful home.”
L. lived in a nursing home for about three years. Prior to entering the nursing home, she lived independently. She reports that “I did not take care of my health and I had a stroke and had to go to the hospital and then went to the nursing home. I didn’t get along well with others in the nursing home. I learned how to get around in the community and I am able to ride the city bus. REACH has made such a difference in my life. I feel that with the support of REACH I have gained my dignity back and I am able to make decisions for myself. I like that REACH staff did not tell me what to do but they offered options and taught me how to make choices for myself. I was able to get a Project Access housing voucher and I got an apartment. With the guidance of the REACH Home By Choice program, I was allowed to visit and select the place where I wanted to live. I was encouraged to locate a place close to my family so that I could have the support from them that I needed. I was also able to locate a place that accepted me and made me feel at home. My apartment is accessible and I am able to use an elevator to get to the third floor. My life is so much better because I have a nice clean environment with furniture and linens that I was able to select myself. My life is so much better with my caregiver to take care of me; she comes when I need her. Also, I was able to get a washer and dryer in my apartment and I am able to do my own laundry. Thanks for freeing me from the nursing home!”
S. said “my heart stopped and I was declared dead. My heart started again and I am alive and living well. I had kidney failure and I was moved to a nursing home for rehabilitation. I was in a nursing home for several years and because I had no income or insurance, I had to apply for Medicaid and SSI benefits. I met REACH Relocation Specialist Mavis Ravin and I was able to make the decision that changed my life. I decided that I wanted to move to an apartment.” Ms. Ravin assisted S. in finding and apartment complex that would accept his housing voucher. “I love my new home. I live on the 3rd floor and I have an elevator to get me to the third floor. I was able to go out shopping for the first time in years. Ms. Ravin let me make my own selections of food, house wares, clothes and linens. I tell everyone that my new life is great. I give Ms. Ravin’s business card to everyone I meet when I visit the nursing home and tell them if you want to relocate, call REACH. Thanks for a new life. I am happy and I would like to say THANK YOU!”
E. said she “lived in a nursing home for about three months. Prior to entering the nursing home, I lived in my house independently. I wanted to move from the nursing home immediately, but I had to wait because there was not a place at the assisted living facility for me. I wanted to be where people spoke my language and where I could have my private apartment. I am so happy that I could move so that I could have my personal items with me. REACH has made such a difference in my life. I feel that with the support of REACH I have gained my independence back and I am able to make decisions for myself. My daughter and the REACH staff went shopping and got items that fit me and things that are in the colors that I like. The REACH staff did not tell me what to do, but they offered options and taught me how to make choices for myself. I am now living at the Juliette Fowler Homes Inc. Assisted Living Facility located in Dallas, Texas. I was allowed to visit and select the place where I wanted to live. I was next door and only wanted to move from the nursing home to the assisted living facility. I was encouraged to locate a place close to my family so that I could have the support from them that I needed. My life is stress free and I feel safe in the Fowler Assisted Living Facility because I have a pull cord that I can use and there is always staff that can help me. I have a living room, bedroom, kitchen and a bathroom to myself. I am able to lock my door and let only the people I want to see into my apartment. My daughter is not too far away and she can come to visit on her way to work. I get help with my medications and I get help with things that I forget. Thank you for making my life better.
J. is a participant in the REACH youth transition program. When J. first entered the program, he was unable to sit still and participate in the IL skills learning activities. As his self-confidence grew and his interaction with the other consumers improved, he began to relax and take part in group events and activities. He even won a talent show by demonstrating his break dancing skills. J. is learning to develop video games. Recently he shared with the group that one of his demos has been approved for production.
S. has been a participant in the youth transition program for three years. S. loves sports; she engages in wheelchair fencing and even goes spelunking. Her dream is to be a contestant in the Paralympics. S.'s can-do attitude is an outstanding example for her peers.
S. career goal is to work with youth with disabilities. REACH’s Employment Consultant conducted training with S. to improve her job seeking, networking, and interviewing skills. She was a very active participant in her job search process and submitted numerous employment applications. In August 2012, S. spoke with a Richardson Independent School District principal at a parenting class and was told she should consider applying for a job with the ISD. She was also told that she could use the principal as an employment reference. S. applied for a part time student aide position and was hired and began working in the Richardson ISD the week of September 10th. Since then, she has been promoted to working full time.
REACH of Denton Consumer Success Stories
E. came to REACH in February 2012 asking to borrow some assistive technology devices. She was accompanied by her friend M. J. and M.J.’s son. After a discussion with all three people, employees identified a handheld magnifying lens that worked well for E. and also found lenses that helped M. J. and her. Since that initial meeting, employees have met with E., replaced her lens batteries, provided IL skills training, and offered peer counseling regarding frustrations E. is experiencing as a result of her vision loss. Employees also checked with M. J. who mentioned using/sharing her lens with friends to read the menus at lunch and her son who uses his lens to assist with his work at the election polling sites. Although each of these three consumers is using their lenses for different tasks, they are all maintaining their independence as a result of borrowing these AT devices from the center.
When T. initially came to REACH, she was very shy and intimidated when trying new activities or crafts and was often hesitant to make new friends and go out in the community. Staff challenged T. to step outside of her “comfort zone” and to not assume that she would fail at something simply because she had a disability. Since coming to REACH, T. has become more confident, has met many new friends, participates in social/recreational activities both at the center and out in the community, and has actively participated in the center’s self-advocacy and IL trainings sessions. T. has thanked the center’s staff over and over again for their assistance and has admitted that she never, ever, thought she could become this confident and independent.
J. walks to work two days per week, but because his vision is worsening, it is becoming increasingly difficult for him to read his schedule at work. J. has had to ask for reading assistance from co-workers in order to read the schedule and employee notices, and oftentimes feels embarrassed to ask for this type help. REACH staff provided ADA technical assistance to both J. and his manager regarding making reasonable accommodations required in the workplace and also conducted self-advocacy training with J. so he would feel confident speaking to his manager if any additional issues arose in the future. Through center’s equipment loan program, staff identified a handheld magnifying lens that enabled J. to read the schedule and notices independently. REACH also loaned a CCTV to J. to use at home which allows him to read his mail and newspapers and also continue to manage his own bank account and bills.
G. lives with her son and requested services to help maintain her independence. Staff met with G. and found several AT loaner devices that would help her handle various activities of daily living. G. borrowed a cane, magnified standing lamps, and a talking scale (she was no longer able to see the numbers on her own scale and her doctor wanted her to monitor her weight on a daily basis). Independent living skills training was offered on how to use a Velcro marking system to highlight settings on G.’s oven, microwave, washer and dryer, thus enabling her to use these appliances on her own. Staff also offered advocacy assistance and helped G. complete an application to receive services from the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services-Division for Blind Services. G. was determined eligible for DARS-DBS assistance and is now receiving Orientation & Mobility training to help her learn how to safely maneuver in the community. G. was thrilled with the help she received from REACH and mentions how thankful she is that she no longer needs to depend on her son for everything.
D.’s mother encouraged him to contact REACH because she is a former consumer and was pleased that staff helped her meet her independent living goals. D. visited the center and explained that he and his wife live in an apartment and have a 7 month old baby girl. D. mentioned that he already uses several techniques for staying as independent as possible, but wants to learn even more ways to deal with his increasing vision loss. D. is currently employed at a local restaurant, but he wants to learn computer skills and get Orientation & Mobility training so that he can get full time employment with a different company. Staff provided peer counseling assistance, IL skills training, and help in completing an application for vocational rehabilitation services to D.
REACH of Fort Worth Consumer Success Stories
Karen Williams, the center’s Relocation Specialist, came to see me at Fort Worth Manor. I’d seen her in there a few times and I noticed that the people that she was coming to see where soon moving out of the nursing home. One day as she was leaving, I asked her why she was coming to see folks there and where were they going after meeting with her a few times. That is when she told me about the option of leaving the nursing home. I asked her to come back and see me regarding moving. I had been in the nursing home a long time. I had no family here in Fort Worth to help me. Karen came back the next day and began working with me on transitioning out of the nursing home. Karen took me to see several places, but I decided on the one in Arlington, Meadow View. I have my own room, although I share the bathroom with my neighbor, but he is a guy that I knew from the nursing home so that is not so bad. Karen made sure that I had all of the things that I would need to live in a new place. Karen even called me and came to see me for several months to make sure everything was going well. After several months, I did become unhappy with some of the issues here in the assisted living facility so I called Karen and she tried to help me. We did some talking and I would feel better for a while, but then I really did want to try something else. So Karen set up some tours of a couple of other places, but I didn’t like them so I decided to stay where I was. Everything is working out just fine now.D.
Karen came to see me she told me that she could help me to move from the nursing home to community living. It took some time and I think Karen had to make several referrals to the Department of Aging and Disability Services before they took my case. Karen helped me apply for reduced rent and helped me make sure that I would have home health care services. She even took me shopping and made sure that I had all the things that anyone would need to start up a new household. I had several financial mistakes in the first couple of months out of the nursing home, Karen advocated with my bank as well as my landlord and we were able to work through the tough times. Karen came by to check on me, she even brought me some groceries during one of the tough financial times. I appreciate all the effort that was put in by Karen and whoever else may have contributed to my successful transition. L.
L. worked for the federal government for 10 years and then for an insurance company for 21 years. After being admitted to the hospital for surgery, L. was placed in a rehab center to recover. After developing a stage 4 bedsore, she was moved to the nursing home wing. She lived in the nursing facility for 4 years. When L. learned about the Home By Choice program, she asked for REACH’s assistance in helping her transition back into the community. L. found an apartment in a brand new community for seniors in the area of town in which she grew up. After L. settled into her new home she said “INDEPENDENCE, it is quiet and peaceful. I do not have to hear people calling out in the night for help and hear that they are not receiving it. It is peaceful in my apartment and I feel at ease. I love having my own place. I may be at home all day long without contact with anyone other than my home health care attendant, but I am so happy. I do not want to go back to the nursing home for anything.”