GARY | At 83, Ora Price faces health challenges but remains in her home and connects with the community with the help of Kendra Bush, a home care worker affiliated with the Service Employees International Union.
During Tuesday’s campaign whistle-stop in Northwest Indiana, Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg visited the Price home to tout the state-funded CHOICE program, which he said is threatened with state budget cuts.
“The annual cost of a semi-private nursing home room in Indiana in 2010 was $63,100, up to 15 times the cost of a year of home care,” Gregg said.
“Medicaid and CHOICE pay for care that makes it possible for Indiana seniors and people with disabilities to stay active in their communities and at home, and provides support for the thousands of Hoosiers who serve as either informal or professional home caregivers,” he said.
Price said she fully supports the CHOICE program and would travel to Indianapolis to talk with state legislators.
“I don’t like the nursing homes,” said the feisty retired Gary Roosevelt High School security supervisor.
Price has congestive heart failure, diabetes and neuropathies that limit her ability to walk.
“(A) nursing home is OK in its place, but don’t want to be in one," she said.
Price lives with her 84-year-old husband, Willie, who has dementia.
“I just started falling this week,” she said. “My mind tells me I can do things, but my body won’t let me. It takes me two hours to get ready every morning.”
Ora Price is one of six clients Bush cares for in their homes. The CHOICE program allows Bush to provide 38 hours of service for her each month.
“I’ve been here for four years. I come at 10 a.m. and stay until 2 p.m. three days a week,” Bush said.
“I fix breakfast, make up the bed, keep the house tidy, vacuum, take Ora to the doctor’s appointments and shopping,” Bush said. “Sometimes we just go out to get out into the community.”