Melba is 73 years old and lives in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. She was in a car accident a number of years ago and injured her leg. As her condition worsened, she decided to take early retirement from her job as a teacher, but she keeps busy volunteering. When asked how the accident changed her life, she says, “I don’t even think about my accident now, because it’s been a while. But I use a walker now. I was promoted from a cane to a walker.”
Melba has found herself relying on friends and neighbors more and more. She says, “I’m doing the best I can with the housework, but I can’t vacuum anymore. I need help going to the store and to the post office. I don’t go out alone anymore—not even to walk a block—because I have trouble getting around and I don’t feel safe.”
Ideally, Melba would like to receive home care. She says, “Before he died, my neighbor used to have a lady who would come to take care of him. She used to pick up things from the pharmacy for me if she was going for him.” She almost applied for services recently, but when the woman taking applications told her how much it would cost, she was discouraged. “I told her never mind—I can’t afford that,” recalls Melba.
Melba uses Access-a-Ride services for her doctors’ appointments and has also looked into getting a motorized chair. “I would like to get information on where I can go or call to get assistance,” she says. She wishes that there were meetings where home care workers, Access-a-Ride and ambulatory services people, and those who need care could just sit down and talk about the issues. “I lost a lot of my mobility, but I still have my voice,” says Melba.