Valerie’s Story

Valerie was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 23. Within a year, she lost the ability to walk, and shortly after that, Valerie entered a nursing home. A nursing home can be a difficult place for a young person. While Valerie got excellent care and made friends with the nurses and social workers there, she felt limited by her environment and didn’t get to see her friends and family much. Valerie couldn’t eat what she wanted unless she ordered food from the outside and she had to wake up early every morning for her medications.

I Choose Home NJ

After three years in a nursing home, Valerie learned about the I Choose Home NJ program. It could help her move into her own place in the community! She was very excited about giving it a try.

Valerie met with Barbara, a social worker from the I Choose Home NJ program, to figure out what supports and services could help her live in the community. After they figured out what Valerie needed, Barbara made sure that those services would be up-and-running the minute Valerie was in her new place.

Managed Long-Term Services and Supports (MLTSS)

Valerie now is happy in her new place. She has medical benefits through Medicaid and qualifies for the Managed Long-Term Services and Supports (MLTSS) program. Valerie has a care manager who helps make sure she has the services and supports she needs to remain independent and healthy.

Valerie has an all-day aide who helps her with daily activities, like dressing, bathing, cooking, and cleaning. Valerie also has a doctor and nurse, who visit her on a regular basis. Valerie gets help with transportation to and from her rheumatologist, who is the only doctor she must travel to see. Valerie uses a wheelchair, and her care manager arranged to have a ramp installed leading up to the front door of her apartment. More importantly, Valerie sees her friends and family more often, and that makes her happier.

New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS)

Now that she is settled in her own home, Valerie is thinking about getting a job. Work would give her more income, a renewed sense of purpose, and the ability to meet new people and make new friends. Valerie plans to visit her local One-Stop Career Center, where she can get services from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS), such as vocational counseling, training, and help finding and applying for jobs.

Valerie’s life has changed a lot since she decided to move out of the nursing home. Instead of limitations, Valerie sees her life as full of possibilities and potential.