“Please help me get out of here!”

Accessible Housing, Advocacy, Independent Living, News About CORD | March 11, 2021


Fifty-eight-year old Shelley* who has a progressive disability fell and ended up in a nursing home last year. Her disability reached the point that she needed to use a wheelchair fulltime.  Shelley did not want to stay in the nursing home but due to the stress of COVID-19, the social worker was unable to help her. Shelley called CORD and said “Please help me get out of here and back to my home!”

Jeri DiCostanzo, CORD’s Transition Coordinator, met virtually with Shelley to work on a plan. Since Shelley’s home was not accessible she needed a ramp but her landlord was unwilling to pay for it. Also, as a result of the progression of her disability, she required a hospital bed.

“A ramp can make the difference between someone being forced to remain in a nursing home or being able to live in their own home and be part of the community,” Jeri explained. “But although ramps are vital for people, insurance won’t cover them.”

Jeri and Shelley worked together to put in place a plan to move forward.  A local medical supply company provided rental equipment. The ramp, however, was too steep for Shelley to use independently so she had a friend temporarily move in to help her so she could go home while a permanent solution was found.

“We applied for Title VII, Part B funding for a ramp,” Jeri explained. “Part B is federal funding that is administered at the state level by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and managed on the Cape and Islands by CORD. But there are caps on how much you can spend.”

In Shelley’s case, Title VII, Part B funding only covered a portion of the $4200 ramp. With Jeri’s help, Shelley was able to secure the balance from the Cape Cod Needy Fund and she is now able to live independently in her own home. And how much of a difference does that make? Shelley sums it up.

“I could not believe the freedom I felt to actually get outside, by myself. I just went out and soaked up the sun which was so special and brought me joy.”

If you need help getting out of or staying out of a nursing home, or if you need to make your home more accessible, contact CORD. We can help.

*Name has been changed