500 ADAPT members are in Chicago protesting the American Medical Association (AMA), Illinois state government, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) to stop the trampling of civil rights for people with disabilities. They are protesting for the thousands of disabled people incarcerated in nursing homes against their will. ADAPT is a nonviolent, direct-action disability rights organization.
A lot of people don’t think the institutional bias is a real issue, although thousands are incarcerated in nursing homes against their will. These people trust the medical establishment [industry] enough to believe that everyone in nursing homes needs to be there for medical reasons and that it has nothing to do with society’s patronizing views or the large, lobbying nursing home complex. Many people in institutions are simply there for personal care services that they could receive in their homes and want to.
One of my best friends, a 22 y/o disabled woc living in my town, had to live in a nursing home last year simply because after being exploited by her fosterhome, she had nowhere to go and was on a looooooooooong list for housing and personal care services. The institution she lived in was horrible— definitely not the pretty retirement place people like to picture when shipping their older parents off. My friend’s story is common; people are instantly put in nursing homes by the stroke of a doctor’s pen or a lack of services. I have another friend (again disabled woc in her 20s) living in this same town, who is in an abusive home but knows she can’t move out yet because of the gap there would be in personal care services. She would have no other option but to live in a nursing home while on the personal care services and housing list.
The first friend managed to get out of the institution all by herself, but that’s very rare for most people. She lost all her services (tuition for school, personal care hours, assistive tech, food stamps) because the state agency thought living by herself would be a liability [she saw her ex-counselor yesterday and his greeting was “oh, you’re STILL living independently?”].
Lack of Medicaid waivers for personal care services and long-line bureaucracies keep innocent people locked away. Being put in a nursing home is literally my biggest fear, particularly because it is such a real threat and my right to self-determination could be taken away any day, any minute. Check out the Community Choice Act and support it.
Go ADAPT, keep doing what you do best—- you folks are kickass. I love you all.