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Rural independent living centers make pitch to Legislature

Active Re-Entry director Nancy Bentley tells rural legislators how her agency serves disabled citizens.

By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

Last Friday, Active Re-Entry Director Nancy Bently took front and center in presenting the case in favor of independent living centers in rural areas to the Legislature's Rural Caucus. Active Re-Entry is one of a number of centers in the state that provide services for people with significant disabilities. Many of the main centers also have satellite facilities. The Price center also has locations in Vernal and Moab.

Bentley, along with two other center directors, provided information about their services and told how much independent living strategies save the state in possible expenditures each year.

Services provided

The centers provide the following to their clients:

Life skill development (living with a disability, cooking, money management, transportation training).

How individuals can access personal care resources.

How to access affordable housing and transportation.

Securing assistive technology and loan bank equipment.

How to look for accessible social and community activities.

Support for adjusting to a disability.

How individuals can move from a nursing home (or keep from going to one) by accessing the right services to keep them at home.

In the last year the centers have been able to save the state substantial amounts of money by keeping people in their residences, or has helped them to move out of nursing homes. The average cost of living in a nursing facility is $57,049 per year. However using Medicaid dollars to live within the community averages only $18,202 per year.

In the past year 196 people did not move into a nursing facility because of the independent living services. That saved the state millions of dollars in funding.

Last year the independent centers served a total of 2,204 consumers and provided for them 21,531 services.

The state funds some of the money to operate the centers, but they also rely on donations.

The Active Re-Entry center based in Price serves residents throughout Carbon, Emery, Grand, San Juan, Uintah, Duchesne and Daggett counties.




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