Andrea can’t wait to put up her Christmas tree. Her very own tree. In her very own home. It has been more than 20 years since she has been able to do that. For the last two years, Andrea lived in a nursing home, but she is thrilled to be spending this Christmas in her own home.
As a child, Andrea had Polio which left her with difficulty walking all her life. As she aged, she developed heart issues, and after a quintuple bypass surgery, “my legs just stopped working,” recalls Andrea. She now relies on a wheelchair for mobility.
Even as an adult, she lived with her sister until a strep infection sent her to the hospital for surgery. After surgery, she spent 2 years in a rehabilitation nursing center before DRA offered her Options Counseling to determine if she would be a good candidate to transition to a home of her own. Penny was the DRA Independent Living Specialist who helped with Andrea’s transition.
“Her family wasn’t sure she could live on her own at first. She had not done it in a long time,” says Penny. “But she is a very determined lady. She has shown us all she can do it! She is so much more independent now. Her health, both physically and emotionally, is even improving. Her family is so proud of her progress now!”
Andrea recalls with great pride what her son said the first time he came to visit her new apartment: “Mom, you have a home!” Since then, they have welcomed Andrea’s first grandchild into the world. Andrea adores “Princess Freya” and is happy to have a home where she can hang her pictures and welcome her as she grows. Andrea feels like she has much more than just a home. “I have a future now,” she says. “Every day is a new and exciting adventure.”
Penny helped Andrea access Missouri’s Money Follows the Person (MFP) program. MFP provides start-up funds and Transition support for those who are able to move from a nursing facility into a private home. “Penny helped me so much! She helped me find a place to live and got my electric and everything all set up,” said Andrea. “She is a jewel. She goes the extra 100 miles. It’s not just a job with Penny. We are people, and she is my friend!”
“Penny is so patient with me. She will make a suggestion and let me think about it. She gives me time to figure out she is right,” Andrea says with a wink and a laugh.
Penny provided a transfer slide board for Andrea that has really increased her independence. “It’s great,” boasts Andrea. “I can get myself in and out of bed, even at night. That has helped me so much. I just keep getting stronger.”
Penny also helped Andrea apply for DRA’s In-Home Personal Care Services. Now, in addition to her son, Andrea has “my girls,” two ladies that come in several hours each week to help her with cleaning, laundry, errands and personal hygiene care. “They know my tastes. They are so good to me. We’ve become like family.”
In her apartment, Andrea has already started to accumulate knick knacks. “In the nursing home, there was no room for personal memories,” says Andrea. “Everything was mundane and predictable. The same old, same old. The big event of the day was the meals. I was starting to get miserable.”
Now, Andrea enjoys time with her neighbors who stop in to visit and to share their home-grown tomatoes. “Now I can cook what I want- and I make it all!” gleamed Andrea. “The other day, I made French Toast, and it tasted so good. I love it. I can come and go as I please.”
Andrea has faced her share of challenges. Even now, it is remarkable that she manages to live on less than $700 per month. But she is determined to make it work. “In the nursing home, I only got $30 of my check, and that went to my phone. Now, I am the master of my money. I won’t go back! I will do what it takes to make it work. I love my freedom!”
She is looking forward to celebrating a new year in her new home! “There is so much to look forward to now! I have a good life now, and I thank DRA for helping me find it!”
Title VI Notice
Disability Resource Association complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states that "no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." For more information on the DRA Title VI program, and the procedures to file a complaint, contact the DRA Executive Director at 636-931-7696; or visit our administrative office at 130 Brandon Wallace Way, Festus MO.63028. DRA will translate all documents as needed. More information is available on our Title VI page.