In late 2000-early 2001, Michelle Stackfield was living a full life. She was going to school full-time, working full-time, and was devoted to her husband Tom and her family. Then, unexpectedly, Tom suffered a series of strokes. Michelle knew they needed help, but she didn’t know where to turn. Fortunately, the local Agency on Aging recommended that she contact UCP Central PA. Initially Michelle was skeptical...
“My question was, but he doesn’t have Cerebral Palsy? Why would someone recommend UCP?” The answer soon became clear: UCP programs and services offered the hope of independent living, both for Tom and for Michelle.
UCP staff provided daily living support for Tom and respite services for Michelle. We also helped arrange for some structural adjustments in the home, including installation of railings in the hallway and an accessible roll-in shower in the bathroom. These relatively simple adaptations to the home provided Tom a significant measure of independence. At the same time, Michelle gained some much-needed freedom as well.
By having UCP in the house, it enabled me to still have a life outside the home. It allowed me a couple of hours if I needed to go to the store, I didn’t have to worry about what’s going on at home. It allowed me during the day, to not have to come home to do lunch. Or it allowed me to wait until nighttime to give him a bath. So it allowed me some freedom in there, even if it was but for a couple of hours. And I tell you, it was a blessing, a total blessing.
Tom Stackfield has since passed away, but for Michelle, the memories of what UCP was able to do for them remain fresh in her mind.
Since Tom’s death, I’ve come across different people on occasion who have needed help. And I’ve automatically said to them ‘Look this place, UCP, will help you. They’ll make things a lot easier for you,’ ” she explains. “And you know, people look at me, I can see the same look in their face that was on mine. But I’m a skeptic no more.
Read Michelle's full story in the Winter/Spring 2009 Issue of Life Without Limits
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