Removing Barriers, Moving Forward
With a heavy sigh, Rosetta slowly wheeled her oxygen tank as she attempted a rare trip out of her apartment with her daughter andgrandson. When she lit her first cigarette at the age of 16, she never thought of how its effects, including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), would change her life later. Simply walking around had become a struggle she faced daily. But this particular outing would prove to be a step toward a happier life for Rosetta. A sign for the Department of Aging caught her grandson’s eye, and he said, “Hey, Granny, you should contact them to see if they can help you.” Since she was now over the age of 60, Rosetta called. After speaking with the Department of Aging staff, they determined she was eligible for assistance and could benefit from IRIS services. Soon she was connected with Jodi, a consultant with Connections, LSS’s IRIS program (Include, Respect, I Self-Direct), who conducted an assessment and worked with Rosetta to set up a plan. “Everything is going to be OK,” Jodi said to Rosetta during that first visit.
Rosetta desperately wanted a mobility chair to help her not only move around her apartment with ease but to also get back out into the community she loved. Four times her requests
for a chair were denied. And after every denial, Jodi was there reassuring Rosetta that “everything is going to be OK.” With encouragement from Jodi and help from the Accessibility team and her primary doctor, Rosetta made one more request for a mobility chair. When the phone rang, she was certain it was the same bad news she heard before. But when the man on the other end of the phone asked if he could drop off Rosetta’s new chair on Friday, she thought she was dreaming. Rosetta’s request was approved!
“The first person I called when I found out I was getting my chair was Jodi,” Rosetta recalls. “She always told me, ‘Everything is going to be OK,’ and now it really was!”
With the help of Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, Rosetta, who once thought she would rarely ever leave her apartment again, was able to move forward
with her life.