As great as it is, it’s not always exercise and activities at the Y at the Heights for participants in Choices Fun-Fit (Adult Day Services) program. There are also opportunities to meet new friends and learn new things about the community. One of those opportunities took place recently when participants were welcomed at one of the Huber Heights fire stations to learn more about firefighting directly from the firefighters. For Hannah Schmautz there was even the thrill of getting to sit in one of the trucks, something she will remember for a long time. Thanks to the welcoming Huber firefighters for making it a great visit!
Choices partners with YMCA’s throughout the area, as well as the Kettering Recreation Complex, to provide its Fun-Fit program. In addition to the Y in Huber Heights, the program is also held at the Englewood and West Carrollton Ys, as well as the Y in Preble County. Many Fun-Fit participants have lost significant weight, have been able to reduce and/or change their medications and have made a commitment to healthier lifestyles. They are excited as well about more opportunities to participate in more community activities.
For more information about Choices Fun-Fit program, please visit Choices services here.
Jodi was a sweetheart, a real girly girl, a princess. Her room was painted pink and decorated in all things princess. She was a caring and loving person. That’s how staff at our Cedar Circle home (Preble County) and all of us remember Jodi Dague. She had lived in the home and had been a part of our Choices extended family since 2003. She died in April, just a few months after her 50th birthday.
One of the best days of Jodi’s life was when she first met Nancy Reder, who would become her Friend By Choice. Friend By Choice is one of the volunteer opportunities of Partners Volunteer Program. It matches an individual with a developmental disability with a friend from the community and supports them as they get to know each other. As with other friends from the community who have been matched with a friend with a developmental disability, Nancy soon found that the friendship meant as much to her or more than it did to Jodi. “She gave me so much more than I ever gave her,” she shares.
Staff remember that time between Nancy and Jodi as the best part of her life. “When Nancy would go to Florida for the winter, she always came over to say good-by,” shares Program Director Barb Swindler. “She would give Nancy a long hug. Nancy would call her from Florida and when staff told her that Nancy was on the phone, she would get a huge smile on her face. Jodi didn’t talk much but she would smile the whole time Nancy was on the phone.”
The two would grow to have a special bond that lasted until Jodi’s death. The fact that Jodi was not very verbal never stopped the friendship from blossoming. Nancy’s favorite memory of her friend came during one phone call between the two of them. “I usually talked and Jodi listened. I always knew she was listening,” remembers Nancy. “During this one phone call I ended it like all our other calls by telling her I loved her. It will stay with me forever what I heard after I said that. I love you, she said I love you. She never said much, but this one time she said I love you back to me. There are no words that can explain what that meant to me and will always mean to me.”
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On December 19, 2014, President Barack Obama signed H.R. 647. With his signature, the ABLE Act became federal law. Beginning on January 1, 2015, the ABLE Act authorizes each state to establish and operate ABLE programs. The new ABLE law (Achieving a Better Life Experience) allows people with severe disabilities to open special accounts where they can save up to $100,000 without risking eligibility for Social Security and other programs. Individuals can keep their Medicaid coverage no matter how much money is accrued in an ABLE account.
To be eligible, individuals must have a condition that occurred before age 26 and have severe functional limitations. Modeled after well-known college 529 Plans, distributions can be taken from an ABLE account for qualified expenses, such as health, education, housing, training, assistive technology, personal support and related services and expenses. Any income earned by these accounts would not be taxed, nor would distributions, as long as the distribution is used for qualified expenses. Each state must now put regulations in place so that financial institutions can make the new offering available.
In April, 2015, both the Ohio Senate (SB 147) and Ohio House of Representatives (HB 155) introduced legislation on behalf of the Ohio ABLE Act (Disability Expense Savings Account Bill.) Senator Bill Beagle is one of the co-sponsors of the legislation. Contact your local senator or representative for an update on the status of the Ohio ABLE Act and thank them for their support for this significant change that will impact the quality of life for individuals with disabilities in maintaining their health and independence.