Helping Seniors Stay at Home - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Helping Seniors Stay at Home

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Louise Porter Louise Porter
Carol Johnson (left) Carol Johnson (left)

Barnard, Vermont - June 18, 2008

From her living room window in Barnard, Louise Porter watches her great-grandson learn how to ride his bike.

"I was just rooting for him. He did so well," says Porter.

She sits in her favorite chair in the house she has lived in for the last 30 years.

"It's home. I don't like to go anyplace that isn't home to me unless I absolutely have to," she says.

But, the 94-year-old native Vermonter is just too old to take care of herself.

"She had severe arthritis in her shoulders and her legs, so she is not able to dress herself, or take care of herself in any way. Bathe herself," says Porter's daughter, Carol Johnson.

So her family-- like many throughout our region-- had to make a tough decision. Should they place Porter in a nursing home? Or move in and take care of mom full time? The family chose to move in-- allowing Porter to live out her days at home. The state of Vermont is hoping more families do the same.

"It is definitely cost effective for any state to consider doing home and community-based care. The average amount of money spent is going to be far less than what it would cost to keep someone in a nursing facility," says Joyce Lemire of the Council on Aging for Southeastern Vermont.

The Council on Aging for Southeastern Vermont recently received a grant aimed at reducing the number of beds in nursing homes. Lemire says that seniors who qualify could use the dollars in different ways.

"Having a homemaker come in occasionally might be really helpful. For others it may be having the ability to get out and have a break in the evening. For others it may be having some home modifications," she explains.

The family from Barnard has applied for the grant. If selected, they hope to build a new bathroom. The current tub is not compatible with a senior's needs.

"You don't even think about it until a person can't lift their legs, and she can't do it," says Johnson.

But you won't hear Porter complaining, especially since she is surrounded by her family.

"Anything would be better than a nursing home," she says.

The Council on Aging is currently looking for seniors eligible for the grant money that will give them the care they need in the comfort of their own home.

For more information, contact the Nursing Home Diversion Grant Manger. You can call 1-866-673-8376 and ask for Paula Fellows.

Adam Sullivan - WCAX News

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