Oceana resident able to stay at home with help from Senior Resources
It was March, but there was snow on the ground and the outside temperature was in the low 20s. Because she had visitors, Karen Gamble's son Bobby says he has turned up the heat. The front door has blankets at the bottom preventing drafts and blinds are kept closed to keep the heat in. Bobby wears a jacket, and there are blankets in the two main rooms for warmth. Unused rooms are kept closed.
Karen, 73, worked for 43 years before disability prevented her from working. Her son Bobby was burned over much of his body as a young boy, and gets by on SSI, while helping keep his mother at home. Karen gets assistance through the MI Choice Waiver program, and says it's essential to keeping her at home - and helping Bobby.
Bobby is the primary - and unpaid - caregiver for his mother. Despite some cognition problems, he sets up her medications and gives them to her at the right time. He also cooks for them. Neither of them have cars or drive. Senior Resources helps them with community living supports, such as an aide who comes five days a week. Senior Resources also helps with snow removal, a personal emergency response device, home-delivered meals, transportation assistance and help them apply for fuel assistance every winter.
Karen has heart problems, COPD, emphysema, asthma and diabetes. She needs a walker to get around safely. She has a hospital bed in a main room; she needs to be more upright in order to sleep. Despite all that, she's able to remain in her home. her Supports Coordinator visits her at least every six months and checks on her monthly.
An aide comes five days a week to clean the house, take Karen shopping or to the doctor, helps with bathing, and "watches over me," Karen says.
Karen has lived in her 2-story farmhouse in Mears for 17 years, and Bobby has lived with her that entire time.
Karen worked for several years at a fruit-processing plant in Hart, and for several years at a nursing home. She had a stroke in 2000, and began needing help. She connected with Senior Resources in 2009.
The assistance from Senior Resources and the Waiver program are vital, Karen says. "It would be too devastating on Bobby and on me" if those services were reduced, she says. "Bobby would just go under if we didn't have help. The rest of my family works and have families. I'm scared of what's going to happen. As you can see, we need each other.
I want to stay home. I deserve that. I worked 43 years of my life."