Program Eases Assisted Living Dependency 3-31-2011 - WNEM TV 5

Program Eases Assisted Living Dependency 3-31-2011

A state program designed to get people out of nursing homes into assisted living and more independence is picking up steam in Michigan.
On Thursday, WNEM TV5's Craig McMorris profiled a local man taking advantage of the Michigan Choice Waiver Program.
John Halas enjoys living in his own apartment. Halas communicates through a computer system that he also was able to obtain through the Michigan Choice program. Last year at this time, the 48-year-old lived in a nursing home, but now he's at the Northfield Center Apartments in Bridgeport.
A & D Home Healthcare participates in the Michigan Choice Waiver program. Its program director, David Benjamin, said Michigan Choice actually reduces long term care service costs.
“It's just more cost effective to take care of a person in their own home versus in a nursing home, and that's where a consumer wants to be," said Benjamin.
Benjamin said it's estimated that each client who successfully transitions to community-based living saves the state more than $110 per day.
In the last fiscal year, nearly 1,100 people like Halas were able to successfully transition from nursing home living back to community-based living. Benjamin said that saved the state $44 million.
Through the program, Halas receives assistance from his caregiver, Beveline Wilson, who has worked with Halas for the past seven months. Wilson said Halas has made a lot of progress in that time.
"John is very much determined to stand on his own,” said Wilson. “John likes building things, [he] has me building things -- I think I have learned as much from John as he has learned from me."
Halas heartily endorses the program, and he hopes it helps him realize his dream. “It’s good,” said Halas. "I would like to be on my own land."
For more information on the Michigan Choice program, click here.
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