It was the fight of his life.
Perhaps it was his impairment by a muscle disease, or the subsequent tragic car accident that left him as a paraplegic; whatever it was, it kindled Carl’s will to fight.
Determined to live independently with a promising quality of life, Carl unpacked his virtual fighting gloves to prepare for the challenges ahead. “You have to fight for things even if you don’t think you’re going to get them. You still fight because you may find a way,” Carl urges.
Carl, 61 and disabled, resides in his Rockland home with his son and has come to accept his situation. “I can drive but I need help with the wheelchair. Also, I tire fast and need help later in the day with things like shopping, making meals, hygiene and sometimes getting dressed.”
After discussing his daily challenges with his physician, Carl was promptly referred to Old Colony Elder Services’ (OCES) Options Counseling Program. The Options Counseling Program provides a free service to older adults (60+) and people with disabilities; information is presented regarding long-term services and supports that help individuals live independently in their community.
OCES’ Options Counselor met with Carl and agreed that “Can’t” was not an option. “I don’t have a ‘We can’t do that’ mentality,” the Counselor asserts. “Regardless of someone’s disability or age, if they have the will to be in the community, I try to find the services that they need. I will look under every single rock to find what I can for them.”
Together, they developed a personalized long-term plan which addressed Carl’s need for medical management and personal care assistance. The Counselor referred Carl to OCES’ One Care Plan Program to help manage his medical care and to OCES’ Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Program to assist Carl with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, shopping, mobility, meal preparation and housekeeping.
Carl enrolled in both programs and appointed his son as his PCA, proving to be a knockout win for both father and son. “Since I’ve been involved in the program, my life has become better, simpler. They’ve taken a lot of the burden off my shoulders.”
Carl drives his point home, “When I first became disabled, I learned that you have to be proactive; look into the future and try to get answers and be prepared for things that may or may not be coming.”
For Carl, the gloves never come off.
Options Counseling is a FREE service funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs with the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and offered through the Southeastern and Southern MA Aging and Disability Consortium (SE SM ADRC).
To learn more about OCES’ programs and services available, visit our website at ocesma.org or call (508) 584-1561.