We are the parents of a 36-year-old son who has athetoid cerebral palsy. This means he has extremely limited control over his movements and is confined to a wheelchair.
To the Editor:
We are the parents of a 36-year-old son who has athetoid cerebral palsy. This means he has extremely limited control over his movements and is confined to a wheelchair. While we believe his mental abilities originally were normal, his physical handicaps have so interfered with his mental development that he is now classified as mentally and physically handicapped. He cannot feed himself or otherwise take care of himself. He must be attended 24/7 by someone.
Jeff is on a Medicaid waiver and eligible for Medicaid and SSI benefits. SSI is his sole income. He is currently living in a house in Sunbury with another disabled man and they have a company that provides the care that they need. The two men share interests in sports and enjoy teasing each other over their divided loyalties between OSU and Michigan.
My wife and I are retired teachers. While our income is adequate, our physical health due to age is becoming such that we would find taking care of our handicapped son in our own home physically difficult. My wife cannot physically lift him out of the wheelchair to put him to bed, take him to the bathroom, or to give him a shower.
The strain of 24-hour care if he were to live in our home would be extremely difficult. Our son would miss out on the socialization that he so badly needs.
Although Jeff's basic needs are met by SSI and DCBDD, we still provide a lot of the extras that makes life enjoyable for our son. We also provide most of the transportation to doctors, wheelchair repair, church, and family outings and get-togethers. We will need to replace our handicapped wheelchair-assessable minivan that we use to transport our son in the next two to three years. A new minivan will cost about $55,000.
We are extremely grateful for the help that the DCBDD has given us. The expertise of the social workers, the moral support they provide, and the financial assistance provided by the county is invaluable. However, the financial burden of Jeff's housing is increasing. He recently received a letter stating that he will have to pay for the utilities at his home. If he cannot pay it out of his limited resources, we will have to assume the cost. What other costs will he have to assume if the levy does not pass? If the cost of his care becomes too great, we would have no choice but to bring him home.
We urgently ask for support for the DCBDD levy so the needs of all of the handicapped people of Delaware County can be met. It is the right thing to do.
Joe and Claudia Warner