Growing up with cerebral palsy in the 1950’s, Ray Layer and his family had no anti-discrimination laws to protect Ray from being excluded from educational, employment or housing opportunities. Some of those protections would come some 23 years later with the passage of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act in 1973 and again in 1990 with the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act; 40 years after Ray was born.
Many people born with disabilities during that era were institutionalized. But with strong family support Ray achieved what many of us now take for granted. He graduated, became employed, participated in recreational activities and socialized with friends. Ray, who has a calm and quiet demeanor, especially regarding his achievements, possesses a very real and unfaltering determination to push through life’s challenges.
One of Ray’s biggest challenges began about four years ago when Ray was living with his mother, who was also his primary caregiver. When age related health issues required her to move into a nursing home, Ray moved there with her. The move was to be temporary while other arrangements were being made, but Ray experienced a very serious fall that required hospitalizations, surgeries and rehabilitation. His cerebral palsy made his rehabilitation difficult and lengthy. His stay in the nursing home ended up lasting three years.
During this time Ray’s mother passed away, yet Ray remained committed to his rehabilitation. His sister invested in major home modifications for Ray to move in with her. Since the accident though, Ray has needed a motorized wheelchair to get around and he’s unable to assist with transferring to or from his wheelchair. With all he’d accomplished, he and his sister needed adaptive equipment to help safely care for him in her home.
Fortunately this issue didn’t create another barrier to Ray achieving his goal of moving from the nursing home. Ray’s needs for a patient lift and an electric door opener could be accommodated through The Partnership for Hope Waiver.
The Partnership for Hope Waiver is a voluntary partnership agreement between Missouri Department of Mental Health Division of Developmental Disabilities and Senate Bill 40 Boards across the state to equally share the state cost to provide the waiver. The Developmental Disabilities Resource Board of St. Charles County has participated in the Partnership for Hope Waiver since its beginning in 2010. The waiver serves eligible individuals with developmental disabilities who require $12,000 or less annually to access necessary services and supports that develop greater independence within their own home and community.
Through the Partnership for Hope Waiver, Ray was able to purchase the adaptive equipment he needed. Today Ray remains healthy and is once again enjoying living with family and being able to access his community. Now retired, Ray remains and active bowler and maintains contact with several life-long friends. For Ray, the Partnership for Hope helped open a door to home.