Volunteer ombudsman's life challenging, rewarding
"The best thing about being an ombudsman is all the smiles. The residents see me and they just light up — and that makes my day."
Sharron Ellisor (or, "Sheri" to her friends) received the DADS' Vision Award for Dignity last year. And while she thinks that recognition is "wonderful," she says that her real reward comes from those she serves.
As a volunteer ombudsman, Ellisor serves as a liaison between the residents of three Jackson County nursing homes and the facility administrators. In a given day she might help settle a dispute between roommates over a remote control, or work with the facility's nursing or maintenance staff to resolve a resident's complaint. "We [ombudsmen] basically try to solve any issues they may not be able to solve on their own," she said.
With DADS' help, Rachal forges new life
Stanley Rachal was a pretty typical guy in his mid-30s a decade or so ago. He was living in a small town in Louisiana, working full-time and going to school to earn a criminal justice degree. Then a heart attack set him on a downward spiral that saw him lose his home, suffer two more heart attacks and a series of strokes, and eventually wind up sleeping on the porch of the nursing home where he was working as a housekeeper.
But this story has a happy ending. Thanks to people who cared about him, and with the help of the DADS Community Based Alternatives program, Rachal -- who is a Medicaid recipient -- now has a decent place to live, help with the daily necessities of life and many of the things that most of us take for granted.
A Smile in the Face of Adversity
There's a truism that if we knew beforehand the struggles we would have to face in life, many of us would just give up.
Yvonne Martinez, an admin tech in the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services' State Long-Term Care Ombudsman's Office, has had struggles enough for a dozen people. Yet she pushes on, doing what she has to do to hold down a job, raise her kids, mind her health and keep a sunny outlook in the face of it all.
Jobs Boost Fulfillment, Social Integration for People with Developmental Disabilities
There was a time in this country not so long ago when people with mental retardation who wanted to work would be relegated to simple jobs, such as assembly work in a sheltered workshop.
But times have changed and today, people with mental retardation (also called developmental disabilities) are finding jobs in the community that not only earn them money but, more importantly, improve their social skills, the quality of their lives and, ultimately, society as a whole.
Age No Barrier to Getting in Shape
James Hill's job at Southwestern Bell didn't offer much physical activity and, like many do, he began to put on a little weight. He knew he needed to do something about it, so he started running.
He hasn't stopped since. In fact, he's hardly slowed down.
Supported Employment Helps Keep People in the Workforce
Carl Morgan is a 51-year-old Austin man. He works hard, holding down two jobs to pay for the luxuries he enjoys, such as a big-screen TV.
Like most working people, he has good days at work and he has bad days. In many ways, he's a lot like anyone else who works for a living. In one way, however, he is different.