The Madison County L.I.F.E. Center extension office is now open and accepting attendants to work with its consumer clients.
Elena Marler, branch manager said the office is Consumer Direct Services or CDS. The CDS means they work with individuals who are independent and can and want to hire someone to help them. That person is called an attendant.
“The attendant must be 18 years old or older, have a clean background and can’t be a spouse, but can be a friend, family member or someone they don’t know, but have to trust,” said Marler. “They must be able to direct their own care. They have to recruit, supervise, and direct the attendant to do the work they want done. Some of these things you wouldn’t want a stranger doing.”
She said the attendant will be working closely with the consumer by doing personal things for them.
“Sometimes that means doing their finances, cleaning, cooking or running their errands and other daily tasks,” said Marler.
She said the consumer is the one who is in charge. They hire and fire the attendant because the program is about independence.
“If they want to go to the store, they are allowed to go,” Marler said. “I love to hear stories about them getting out.”
She said some of their consumers don’t have family or friends to help them and they have an “attendant pool” they can pull from for recommendations.
“We pull the names and send them to consumers and they do the interviews and hire the ones they are interested in,” Marler said. “The attendants in the pool are generally ones who are looking for more hours. Some of the attendants work an hour and a half a day, five or seven days a week. Others will do three, four or seven days. It depends on what the Division of Health and Senior Services says because they determine the hours.”
This is a Medicaid funded program.
“This is similar to someone starting their own business,” Marler said. “They will be running a household with the attendant. The consumer is the boss.”
She said the only thing they can’t do is lawn maintenance.
Marler said the L.I.F.E. Center opened their office in Fredericktown recently because they noticed they had more and more consumers in Madison County.
“Right now we serve between 60 to 70 consumers,” said Marler.
She said their office does monthly contacts and quarterly visits to check on the consumers and attendants.
“Our office helps with referrals to East Missouri Action Agency and the food banks,” Marler said. “We work with Sheets Young to help people who need refurbished medical equipment. We can help with amplified telephones, build ramps, and other services.”
She added, “This is a really good program and it helps a lot of people.”
Marler said occasionally they will have to go through the main office in Farmington, but they are trying to have a lot more things in the Madison County location to help the consumers.
The L.I.F.E. Center serves people with disabilities of all types, regardless of age in Madison, Ste. Genevieve and St. Francois Counties.
To find out more on their services visit their website at www.lifecilmo.org. The Madison County office is located at 135 S. Main St., Fredericktown.
For more information on their programs call 573-561-1285 or 1-800-596-7273.
Maridee Lawson is a reporter for the Democrat News and can be reached at 573-783-3366 or email@example.com