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What Bureau County United Way dollars go for ...

Illinois Valley Center for Independent Living’s Personal Assistant Program

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 1:44 p.m. CST

Mary has been a consumer of the Illinois Valley Center for Independent Living (IVCIL) for several years.

IVCIL assisted Mary to locate and hire personal assistants. A personal assistant is an individual who assists a person with a disability in activities of daily living, such as personal care, meal preparation, housekeeping, shopping, and errands. Personal assistants allow individuals with disabilities to live at home instead of being placed in a nursing home, other care facility, or an institution.

IVCIL locates personal assistants and maintains a registry of personal assistants who have attended IVCIL’s orientation training and passed a background check. Orientations for prospective personal assistants are held once a month in various locations around IVCIL’s service area. Personal assistants specify what skills they possess, what hours they are available for employment, and which areas they are willing to travel to. All of this information is then entered into the IVCIL’s registry. However, IVCIL is not the employer – the consumer is the employer.

Mary lives independently in her own home and employs three personal assistants who work shifts. This past year, she had to have surgery for a hip replacement and was in the hospital for over a week. Instead of going to a nursing home for rehabilitation, she was able to return home and recuperate there. This would not have been possible without the support of her personal assistants. With their help, she can go grocery shopping and eat out, a favorite past-time. Despite her health problems, Mary has been active in advocating for accessibility in several public places in Princeton and has filed complaints with the Disability Rights Bureau in Springfield. Her goal now is to complete therapy and be authorized to drive again. Her personal assistants help her towards this goal by assisting her with her prescribed therapy exercises on a daily basis. She speaks glowingly of all three ladies – they are an integral part of her life, enabling her to age in the comfort of her own home.

The Illinois Valley Center for Independent Living can be reached at 815-224-3126. The Bureau County United Way is located at 401 S. Main Street in Princeton and provides funding help for 15 local non profit member agencies, as well as providing a variety of community services. Call the Bureau County United Way at 815-872-0821 for information on how you can lend a helping hand to those in need in Bureau County.

Goal: $120,000.00

Pledged: $44,133.89

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