LifeDesigns: Jeff Taylor

Jeff and Tom Bennett, his case manager

Jeff was born in Springfield, Illinois in 1963. His family moved around the United States until finally settling down in Bedford, Indiana when Jeff was 14 years old. Jeff has dealt with cerebral palsy throughout his life with many trials and tribulations. For example, at the age of 10, Jeff had surgery to stretch the tendons in his legs so he could walk better and was in a body cast from the waist down for months. 6 years ago, Jeff's family enlisted Options for Better Living to receive residential services. These services were very minimal because Jeff's mother refused extended services and was doing most of his care at the age of 80-. Options staff would take Jeff out in the community for 6 to 9 hours a week doing grocery shopping and going bowling,

In April of 2004, Jeff's mother had suffered some health problems and was in the hospital. Jeff's sister had to move from Cincinnati to assist Jeff while there mother was in the hospital, since there were no 24 hours services in place for Jeff. Jeff's mother was placed in a nursing home during her recovery and Jeff moved form his home to the same nursing home in order to be closer to her. During his mother's recovery period, Options introduced the idea of 24 hour service for Jeff to his sister. Although the family was very apprehensive, it was explained to them that Jeff would lose his Medicaid waiver if action were not taken immediately because one month is the maximum someone can stay in a nursing home and still keep their waiver. Options worked diligently with Jeff's family, his new case manager, and hiring staff to get him to be able to come home and live with his mother when she recovered.

Currently Jeff and his mother are living happily at home with 24 hour services from Options. Jeff's sister, who is also his Advocate and Power of Attorney, is very pleased with Jeff's services and his continued growth and independence. Jeff has 3 jobs volunteering now, one of which is at the Options office in Bedford. He also does household chores, grocery shopping, bowling, is a member of the Options Leadership Team, and will soon be getting internet access to work on his webpage and email his friends and family. He also has a brand new wheelchair and may soon be getting a talking communication board. This major turn in Jeff's life has greatly increased his choices, access to community and relations with those in the community.

Options for Better Living, Inc is a nonprofit organization that supports people with a variety of disabilities to live, work, and be part of their communities. The mission of Options is to partner with individuals with disabilities and their communities to bring about self-directed and fulfilled lives. Options serves over 230 people in south central Indiana. It offers person centered service, enabling customers and their families to make their own choices about the support they need for community life. The following story is the third in a series illustrating the power of community support and Options services.

For more information about Options services, 1-800-875-9615, or visit our website at www.optionsfbl.com.