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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Independence and social services: Illinois People with Disabilities: Nursing Home; April 27, 2011 - Chicago Tribune

Independence and social services:

Almost two years ago, I moved out of a nursing home into an apartment of my own. Life is much better for me in my own apartment compared to the nursing home. Now I am able to make decisions for myself and am able to do the things that I want to do. In the nursing home, I didn't have much control over my life and I was unable to make any progress.

I am able to live in my own apartment because I get the support of personal assistants. Personal assistants help me with day-to-day things like cooking and cleaning. I hire personal assistants through Illinois Home Services Program. The program costs less money than institutional care, and more importantly, the program provides a lifeline to independence for me and many other people with disabilities.

Without the personal assistant support I have now, I might be forced back into a nursing home. Going back into the nursing home is the last thing I'd ever want to do. But Gov. Quinn's proposed budget limits access to the Home Services program and will cut services of people currently on the program. If Quinn's budget is passed, cuts to Home Services may be the difference between living in an apartment in the community and living in an institution for me and hundreds of others.

I understand that Gov. Quinn has a tough job. I understand that he wants to save money. But cuts to the Home Services program are not the answer. Illinois will end up spending more money to care for people with disabilities in costly institutions, and, many people, myself included, will lose the opportunity to contribute and participate in their communities.

-- Claudette Epting, Chicago

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