Americans with Disabilites Act Celebrates its 20th Anniversary Today!

Today marks the day of a significant anniversary, and I wanted to share our thoughts with you. As most of you may or may not already know, SimplyHome is an affiliation of care providers who have been providing supports for the disabled and elderly since 1990. Innovative Services  began community based supports in 2003 and uses SimplyHome technology in conjunction with their services to better assist individuals with special needs.  Innovative Services’ Chief Operating Officer Rick Bahr discussed with us the affects this law has had on the company through the years.

Bahr explains, “The ADA speaks to the right of access and the issue of discrimination It challenges our communities to eliminate barriers or and negative attitudes towards the disabled. The law speaks to our collective values in all affiliated organizations. Creating solutions to ensure people with disabilities have options to live in apartments, within neighborhoods, to have options to make choices without staff influence and ensuring participation in their communities is what we do.”

Sometimes economics is the greatest barrier, again a barrier SimplyHome identifies and creates solutions for.  So, after 20 years, has the ADA made a difference?

Bahr says yes! “Taking on the mission to serve others requires a commitment to not only identify a persons needs, but also their wants and dreams. Once we understand what a person wants it becomes a passion to bridge gaps and find or create solutions on the life road the person has chosen. This is what the ADA means to me,” says Bahr. ” It challenges all of us as a citizen to work on full inclusion for all people in all things; those things being what a the person has chosen regulated only by the financial means of our society.”

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) celebrates its 20th anniversary today.This groundbreaking civil rights law was intended to “establish a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability.” This protection is intended to be similar to that afforded Americans on the basis of race, religion, sex, national origin, and other characteristics through the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Disability is defined by the ADA as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.” The determination of whether a particular condition is considered a disability is made on a case-by-case basis. Certain specific conditions, such as current substance abuse and visual impairment that is correctable by prescription lenses, are excluded as disabilities.

How to Pay for In-Home Care and Technology

In-Home Care and Technology Working Together

Many families do not want to consider sending their loved one to a nursing home.  The alternative is in-home health care which can be very expensive.  Families may not be aware that technology can be used in conjunction with in-home care to reduce costs, but still ensure a loved one is monitored at all times. Technology cannot help with a bath, change bed linens, or cook a pot of soup; but it can alert family members when there has been a possible fall or change in normal activity during a loved one’s “down hours” at night or day.

Cost For Technology

Technology can be purchased and used for less than $10 a day in most cases.  Compared to $10-$30 an hour for 24/7 in-home care, using technology with part time in-home care can cut costs while still allowing a loved one to remain at home safely, but at a more affordable rate.  Like in-home care, technology can be paid for in most states by Medicaid, long term care insurance, private pay, as well as, VA benefits for veterans.  We encourage you to consider how our products and services may address your priorities for independent living.  We welcome any questions you may have.  Please contact us @ 1-828-877-684-3581 or
Look to your health; and if you have it, praise God and value it next to conscience; for health is the second blessing that we mortals are capable of, a blessing money can’t buy.

– Izaak Walton

How to Pay for In-Home Care

By Joseph L. Matthews, Author

Last updated: May 05, 2011

What to expect

The cost of in-home care usually ranges between $10 and $30 an hour, depending on the location (urban areas tend to be more expensive), the type of care needed (simple help around the house is less expensive than skilled help with bathing, toileting, and safely getting in and out of bed, for example), and whether the caregiver comes from a licensed home care agency (more expensive) or is an independent home care worker (less expensive).

Here are some of the options you can explore to help pay for in-home care:

Look into public benefit programs

If your loved one has very low income and few assets other than the home he or she lives in, some public benefit programs — including Medicaid, PACE, , and Cash and Counseling — pay a limited amount for care. Explore public benefit programs.

Consider private insurance options

There are at least two options worth looking into: If your loved one has a long-term care insurance policy, it may include coverage for in-home care. He or she might also consider converting a life insurance policy into cash to help pay for in-home care. Explore private insurance options.

Use personal and family assets

Like most families, you’ll probably have to rely on your loved one’s and other family members’ personal assets to pay most in-home care costs. There are several ways personal and family assets can be used help pay for in-home care, including tapping into the equity in your loved one’s home and gathering contributions from those family members who aren’t actively helping with daily care. Explore personal asset options.

Get creative

In addition to public benefits, private insurance, and personal assets, you might want to explore some other avenues to help fund paid in-home care, including assistance from local churches, high schools or colleges, and adult daycare centers. Find supplemental sources of support for in-home care.

Lower Your Risk of Falling

Reduce your risk of falls – clean out your medicine cabinet

Health • Posted by OttawaStart on June 29, 2011

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is supporting the Champlain Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) through the Medication Clean-Out project. An awareness event took place this morning at the Aging in Place building located at 280 Rochester Street.

“In taking precautions such as cleaning out old or unnecessary medications, we will reduce the number of seniors who have to visit emergency rooms and that is an outcome we all want,” said Mayor Jim Watson.

The CCAC and OPH are focusing on proper medicine use, tracking, safe disposal and fall prevention.

OPH has participated in the medication clean-out since 2007. The project aims to improve the health of seniors by encouraging older adults to clean out their medicine cabinets on a regular basis.

“As we age, our bodies become more susceptible to serious injury, or even death, that can occur from falls. Taking a large number of medications per day creates a risk for these falls,” said Councillor Diane Holmes, Chair of the Board of Health. “In supporting the CCAC, we recommend that all adults over the age of 65 review the medication that they take daily.”

A senior is at an increased risk of falling if they are over the age of 65, take medications to sleep or calm nerves, and take more than four medications per day.

To reduce the risk of falls, it is important to:

  • Review medications with your doctor every six months.
  • Know about the side effects of the medications.
  • Tell your doctor if your medication makes you dizzy or lightheaded.
  • Never take someone else’s medication.
  • Talk to your doctor if insomnia persists.

“By providing a way for people to dispose of the medicine they no longer need, we are preventing potential misuse and protecting the environment,” said Gilles Lanteigne, CEO of the Champlain CCAC. “This project proves how successful initiatives, like the Aging in Place partnership, can be when all the sectors – health, community and housing – work toward improving the lives of seniors in our community.”

“One in three seniors will experience a fall each year, but like many injuries, these falls can be prevented,” said Dr. Isra Levy, Medical Officer of Health. “Taking a few easy actions to prevent an injury can help an older adult enjoy a healthier life.”

OPH has been encouraging healthy lifestyles for seniors along with the Champlain CCAC and through Aging in Place.

Aging in Place, a joint partnership between OPH, the Champlain CCAC, Ottawa Community Housing Corporation and Ottawa West Community Support, works to encourage healthy at-home living for seniors. This includes overall improvement of health status and a decrease in emergency room visits made by seniors age 65 and up.

To learn about seniors’ health, visit or call 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656). You can also connect with OPH on Facebook and Twitter (@ottawahealth).

Volunteered For a Week…Touched For a Lifetime

There’s No Place Like…SimplyHome.

I am happy to report that our team has made it back safe and sound from their journey to Pennsylvania to work with the ABC show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. As soon as they walked through the office door, the rest of the staff circled around them hungry for all of the details of their adventure. We sat down around the conference table and made them start at the beginning. The story they told was fascinating and one I thought worth sharing…

Through Our Crew’s Eyes

Our five crew members, Chris Whitworth, Glenn Mertens, Ian Sanders, Jason Ray and Allen Ray, loaded up the equipment and headed for Pennsylvania June 16th, only 1 short week and 1 day after learning we would be helping with the show. It was a short turn around, but our guys seemed enthusiastic and ready for the challenge. It was amazing to watch them gather any and all of the pieces and parts they could possibly need to help Brian. Never once was there a mention of the sacrifices it would mean for them and their families. They were going to be missing out on Father’s Day,  family beach trips, a weekend at the lake, and a grandson’s 4th birthday party. But, this was an opportunity to help Brian Keefer, a young man who experienced a tragic accident that left him paralyzed. We knew our technology and problem solvers could help, and that is exactly what we set out to do.

Getting to Work

As soon as we arrived at the hotel in PA, we knew we had our work cut out for us. One of the hotel rooms turned into an inventory/staging room.  Along with the SimplyHome System, we installed customized technology that would greatly increase Brian’s independence. (We are not able to disclose the exact details until the show airs in September.)

After the reveal, the Keefer family didn’t have much time to get their things together and head off for a week long vacation in Colorado Springs. However, our crew was able to spend enough time with the family  to assess Brian’s needs, as well as, the needs of his parents. After Brian’s accident, Steve, Brian’s father took early retirement and now spends almost every hour with Brian. When asked what they wanted for Brian, his brothers said, “If you could make him better, that would be pretty cool.”  Their comment fueled us to do the best job possible.

What Were The Concerns We Addressed?

Our assessment with Brian and his family helped us to grasp the personal and family challenges. Imagine  someone by your side 24 hours a day attending to your every need.  Now imagine being Steve and caring for Brian every minute of every day.  Steve has been sleeping in the same room with Brian ever since the accident. Both Brian and his dad expressed hope that technology could create some independence for both of them. At this point, our number one consideration became creating new options and outcomes for both Brian and his dad.

We were able to implement many forms of  technology to help enable Brian to complete many activities of daily living on his own.  Along with the SimplyHome system, we installed customized technology that would greatly increase Brian’s independence. We are not able to disclose the exact details yet because the show is hoping to keep it a surprise until it airs in September.

Wonder How They Surprise The Family?

Allen Ray explains: I have always wondered how they “surprised the family” and yet they were always coming out dressed and with microphones. First, there were several families as finalists in this region of PA. Many interviews are conducted. Here is how it worked for the Keefer family: They were interviewed quite a bit during a year’s time. On the day of the reveal (Sunday AM) Extreme Makeover Home Edition was interviewing the family yet again. As they were being interviewed, they wore mics and had cameras, etc. Sometime in the late AM the bus quietly rolled into town and into their “very narrow” cul-de-sac. When Ty said, “GOOD MORNING Keefer family”… they were surprised, but prepared to speak on set.

The Inside Scoop

Another neat fact that plays into who is chosen for the show is the neighbors willingness to allow all of those people to be in their yards for a week. Because of limited space around the Keefer home, crews are in their actual yards, tearing up trees and grass. Fortunately, the show replaces all of that before leaving town. In fact, the Keefer neighbors were so on board, they brought volunteers breakfast and snacks every day, and even did our laundry!! Allen Ray said, “There just wasn’t time to do laundry, and body spray can’t compete with temperatures in the 90′s!”

The Cast

Everyone always wonders what the cast members are “really” like when they are not on camera. They are a very talented and committed group. It was interesting to learn that the show actually has two different builds going on at the same time. This required them to have two cast crews, with the exception of Ty, who was going back and forth between the two. Talk about a busy man!!

One of the first nights we were there, we met with the cast members in their hotel to discuss our plans for technology. Along with host Ty Pennington, designers Jillian Harris, Tracy Hutson, Ed Sanders, and Paul DiMeo were there. Paul DiMeo (Pauley) is the person we interacted with the most. He is very genuine and caring but also a whole lot of fun. As the week progressed he spent a great deal of time learning what it is we do! In fact, one of our favorite Pauley quotes is, “Without SimplyHome we would have just built the Keefers a bigger house. The technology makes the story!

In The Days to Come

After the excitement dies down, SimplyHome will continue to support Brian and his family. It is our responsibility to not only install the technology, but to also maintain its’ functions as technology evolves and Brian’s needs change. It was our honor to be able to take part in such an amazing project. The show really does change people’s lives…and it’s not always just the family that has been chosen. Our lives will forever be changed as well.

We can’t wait to share the details of everything we put into the Keefer home! The show will air September 25th from 7-9pm. It is the two hour season premiere so don’t miss it! We plan to have a big party for the showing and have also made it our goal to raise $5,000 for the Keefer family. We will take donations made straight to the Keefer fund. You can contact Kristen Suttles, Marketing Specialist, at 828-684-8441 for donation information.