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Demand for at-home assistance booming

Demand for at-home assistance booming
Demand for at-home assistance booming(Station)
Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 4:18 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Over the past few years, North Dakota have been trying to empower the elderly and disabled by expanding at-home services.

At the Center for Independent Living, demand has been growing faster than they can keep up with.

Not every elderly or disabled person needs to be in an institution, but still need help with everyday life. The “Money Follows the Person” grant calls itself that link between living in a facility and living at home.

As demand for at-home services goes up, supply has to as well. And that’s putting pressure on the state’s Human Services Department to expand it.

Some family members put their loved ones in a nursing home because it’s a safer option. Other times, it’s just because they don’t know what all their options are.

As the pandemic showed, there’s a growing demand for help at home.

“They’re going to be happier out in the community. They’re going to have more opportunities to go out in the community to go out and do social events, visiting with family. Doing basically what they want,” Royce Schultze of the Dakota Center for Independent Living said.

Schultze doesn’t just work with the CIL. He’s also a recipient of its services after surgery on his spine left him partially paralyzed 30 years ago.

Since 2007, the program has helped 547 North Dakotans transition from living in a facility to living at home. Even for just a little while.

“We were working with this lady. She had a feeding tube. Just really didn’t look like it was going to be a successful transition... The lady lived maybe six to eight months before she passed away, but they were at home. They were happy,” Schultze said.

So far this year, Human Services has received 93 referrals. That’s about 60% the number from all of last year.

Organizers said it’s increased awareness of options, not COVID restrictions, causing the surge.

“A lot of the folks that are coming from hospitals into the nursing facilities are doing that for rehabilitation, and now they’re ready to go. And in the past, there may not have been as many opportunities. And now there is,” MFP Program Administrator Jake Reuter said.

To help match demand, the state and private firms are trying to expand the number of providers by offering them with $30,000 in subsidies.

If you or a loved one are interested in transitioning into a house or apartment, The Dakota C-I-L offers rental assistance and helps furnish new places. You can call the number on your screen or contact them at Dakota C-I-L dot org.

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