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Proposed changes to home-care program assailed

Mary Talbo has lived with multiple sclerosis for 40 years, and over time, it has gotten progressively worse.

“I have no arms or legs that work anymore,” said Talbo, 65, who lives in Marion, Wayne County.

Because of this, Talbo needs assistance for virtually every daily living need — from bathing and toiletry to eating and brushing her teeth. Her late husband provided that care for many years until his own health failed, forcing her, temporarily, into the Wayne County Nursing Home.

Talbo now gets 24-hour home care through the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program — or CDPAP — a Medicaid-funded program that allows those with physical and/or mental disabilities to hire people to assist them with their daily living needs. The program has been expanded in New York to allow parents who have children with disabilities to be paid for providing daily living assistance.

Without 24-hour care, Talbo said she would be forced to leave her home on Sandhill Road and into an assisted-living facility or nursing home.

That, said Stephanie Woodward, is not out of the question. She is the director of advocacy for the Center for Disability Rights, based in Rochester and with offices in Geneva and Canandaigua.

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