:: to the teeth ::    thoughts on social justice, medicine, race, hope and beats

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." :: Arundhati Roy ::

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." :: Alice Walker ::
Sunday, September 12, 2004  

Checkin' out of the nursing home

I'm catching up on old emails and articles I've put aside to be read, and I found an inspiring article on disabilities activism in the Washington Post from July 31st. It describes the work of Ellen Archie, an activist who is paraplegic herself and dealt with nursing homes for a while before leaving to live independently in the community. She's now working to educate nursing home residents about their rights to live independently and have Medicaid pay for home care instead of nursing home care. Check out the whole article, it's worth reading, and it's still available on the washington post's website. Here's a teaser:
Sitting in the courtyard with her old neighbors, she acknowledges the struggles of daily life in a paralyzed body, with its spasms, sweats and tics. But mostly she speaks of the small joys of living again in the world: a trip to the coffee shop, a visit to the park or, in the evening, a sip of merlot.

She knows the thought of freedom can be scary to some.

"A lot of people just give up," she says. She understands. They are not old, yet they have suffered terrible trauma. Their monthly Supplemental Security Income checks are turned over to the nursing home. And they have come to depend on the institutions for all their needs.

"Your life will change, " she tells them again and again. "But you have to want it to change."

Some have taken the leap of faith.

"We've gotten 145 out," Archie reported proudly this month. The cases of those 145 people took more than two years of hard work by the state's six nonprofit centers for independent living. A nationwide network of such centers has been charged with protecting the rights granted by the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act and the U.S. Supreme Court's 1999 Olmstead v. L.C. decision, which directs states to offer programs for the disabled "in the most integrated setting appropriate."

posted by Anjali Taneja | 9/12/2004 02:42:00 PM | |


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