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For Immediate Release            Contact: Lynn Robinette 770-982-0275

 

 

Foundation Seeks More Housing For Physically Challenged Adults

Atlanta, GA, Sept. 11—Four years ago, Lynn Robinette found herself facing a dilemma. Her physically challenged adult daughter, Robin Cheatwood, 24, needed help with daily tasks such as meal preparation, getting into and out of her wheelchair, laundry, and transportation.

Robinette, a single mom in Lawrenceville, Ga., was in no position to quit her job and become a full-time caregiver. So she began to search for other options. Fortunately, her daughter was able to qualify for one of Georgia’s Medicaid Waiver programs, which provided caregivers for five days a week for close to five hours a day. That helped, but it didn’t solve the problem.

On a typical workday, for instance, Robinette had to be away from home for 11 hours. And her house was not built to accommodate a physically challenged adult. Robin and her family moved into Robinette’s home in 1996, and four years later Robin’s disability put her in a wheelchair. As Robin’s condition worsened, the house became an increasingly unsafe place for her to be.

Robinette came home one day to find her daughter frazzled. After the caregiver had left for the day, Robin had to go to the bathroom. The bathroom on the main level was too small for the wheelchair. As Robin’s health declined, she had developed a way of transferring out of the wheelchair by putting her weight on the vanity and sliding her feet in front of the toilet where she could then sit down. This day, however, she fell trying to get back into the wheelchair. Robin could not lift herself up to the vanity and her wheelchair was blocking the doorway. She was trapped in the bathroom in a panic and in pain.

When she was able to calm down a bit, Robin managed to disengage the brakes on her wheelchair and push it as she crawled 18 feet to a sofa in the living room. She was then able to pull herself up to the sofa and slide back into the wheelchair. The entire episode had taken four hours. Robinette realized it was time to find other living arrangements for her daughter, and over the next six months, she searched for a solution.

Through her search, Robinette realized there were no acceptable living arrangements for Robin given her physical needs and her age.  Although Robinette identified nursing homes in the area, she was reluctant to place young women in that environment.  As an alternative, Robinette located a house which could be modified to meet the needs of her daughter and others with a physical disability.  So the house in Lawrenceville which Robinette located was purchased and modified for physically challenged women by the Wishes 4 Me Foundation. (www.wishes4me.org)  The Wishes 4 Me Foundation works with disabled individuals to assist in finding resources to meet their needs.  They also work towards keeping disabled individuals active in the community and prevent individuals from becoming a shut in.  The foundation has a consultant/advocate who works with the disabled to discuss options.  The foundation has purchased and modified two homes for physically challenged adults accommodating five residents.  

“If my children did not have the opportunity to live in the houses through the Wishes 4 Me Foundation,” she says, “I would have to quit my job to care for them.” Robinette works for ING, a major financial services company. “Not everyone has been as fortunate as I am to have such a good employer with good benefits.”

A year after Robinette’s daughter moved into her new lodging, the foundation opened a house for physically challenged adult men. Both houses use a shared resource model with Medicaid waiver programs so residents can pool their hours and have more coverage. Both of Robinette’s adult children—her son, Stephen, is 25—are afflicted with a progressive neuromuscular disease called Freidriech’s Ataxia. Eventually, both will require 24-hour supervision.

Because Robin and Stephen are very active in the community, Robinette felt that a nursing home would not be an appropriate place for them, just as it would not be for most young physically disabled people. Although she is very active in her children’s lives, she also knows that they need to survive without her constant presence.

Robinette has worked with many families over the past four years advocating on behalf of their children and educating them on available options and resources. The foundation currently only houses five residents but is trying to raise money to build an addition to their men’s facility in Lawrenceville, which would provide two more bedrooms. Wishes 4 Me would also like to build an addition to the women’s house. This growth is part of the foundation’s vision of acquiring and modifying more homes and building apartments for physically challenged adults.

Note: On Sept. 21, from 1-4 p.m., the Wishes 4 Me Foundation will host its 2nd Anniversary Celebration of Kate’s Home, which provides housing for physically challenged adult females. Hamburgers and hot dogs will be provided. Anyone who attends can bring a dish or beverages to share. On display will be various pieces of equipment that have kept our residents independent and/or safe. For more information about the event, please email admin@wishes4me.org. If you would like to become involved in the work of the Wishes 4 Me Foundation, you can send an email to admin@wishes4me.org or call Lynn Robinette at 770-982-0275.




 

Fact Sheet

  • There are approximately 46,000 nursing home beds being serviced in Georgia

  • Roughly 16 percent of those being serviced in nursing homes in Georgia are under 55

  • There is a great need in the State of Georgia for affordable, adaptable, and safe housing for physically challenged adults.

  • Two or three hand rails in a bathroom with an American Disabilities Act-approved toilet and a roll-under vanity are not enough.

  • The Wishes 4 Me Foundation has modified houses to meet a variety of needs.

  • In the group setting these houses offer, residents can have caregivers for 14 hours a day or more.

  • Rent is affordable, and the living environment is safe.

  • The maximum an individual can receive in Social Security Income is $637 per month

 

Social life

 

  • Residents of the Wishes 4 Me Foundation houses are very active in the community.

  • They hold at least one social a month at their houses.

  • Residents themselves, not the volunteers, coordinate the socials.

  • Some residents currently do volunteer work; some hold part-time jobs.

  • Other are looking for part-time employment and volunteer opportunities.

  • Residents do not want to be shut ins.

 


 
 

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