On July 26, 2017, the 27th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) took place.

Throughout the month of July, OCES celebrated the passage of the ADA by recommitting our focus on the principles of equality and inclusion that the ADA represents.

“People often think that OCES just serves people who are 60 years or older, but we serve people with disabilities of all ages and their caregivers,” explained Susan Willis, Aging Services Access Point Program Director at OCES. “As a member of Aging and Disability Resource Consortium of Southeastern and Southern Massachusetts, OCES supports a ‘No Wrong Door’ philosophy, so that with one phone call, an individual can be connected to the services offered by any one of our member agencies.”

As detailed in more depth on the Information and Technical Assistance website at www.ada.gov, the ADA is a civil rights law that protects people from discrimination due to disability. The law has five major sections, or titles, focusing on employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA also protects individuals from discrimination based on a “perceived” disability. Its protection also extends to any individual who is discriminated against because of their association with an individual who is disabled. The ADA has reduced barriers and changed perceptions, but the work is continuous.

OCES strives to empower individuals with the information, resources and supports to access what they need. This support may include assistance with transitioning from a hospital or skilled nursing facility, housing assistance, benefits advocacy or referrals to other programs such as Options Counseling, Personal Care Management (PCM) or the Adult Family Care (AFC) Programs.

OCES is a member of the Aging and Disability Resource Consortium of Southeastern and Southern Massachusetts (ADRC SE SM). Member organizations include Independence Associates, Bristol Elder Services, Coastline Elder Services, SCIL (Southeast Center for Independent Living) and South Shore Elder Services.

Willis continued, “ADRC SE SM members all work together to connect older adults and individuals with disabilities with the services and support needed to help them live independently in the community.”