Keith, 65, is happy to tell you the story of his life. And the story is not without its challenges – challenges made easier by PASSPORT, Ohio’s in-home alternative to nursing home care.
Born in 1957, Keith has lived nearly all his life in Cincinnati. As a University of Cincinnati student and a writer for the school newspaper, he discovered a love of advertising, which led to a fulfilling career. After working as an account executive designing ads for contractors around the country, he became owner of an advertising and marketing agency in Mt. Healthy, specializing in ads for businesses, newspapers, telephone books, magazines and athletic programs.
Health challenges, including diabetes and high blood pressure, forced him to sell his agency after a 15-year run.
The biggest change – and challenge – in Keith’s life came in 2012 when he lost his sight. Not only did Keith have to adjust to losing his vision, he also had to learn to navigate his home and his life without his sight. When he turned 60, Keith reached out to Council on Aging for support.
Keith was enrolled in PASSPORT, an in-home care program for Medicaid-eligible older adults. The program offers supportive services that help individuals who could qualify for nursing care instead receive care in their homes. Council on Aging administers the program, providing eligibility screening and care management services on behalf of the Ohio Department of Aging.
Through PASSPORT, Keith receives an Emergency Response System, keeping him connected to help in the event of an emergency, such as a fall. The program also provides a home care aide, Kim, who visits six days a week and serves as Keith’s window to the world.
“Kim does absolutely everything for me,” he says. “She cooks and cleans, does housekeeping, helps me take showers and baths, runs errands and helps me pay bills.” Kim responds to Keith’s praises saying with a smile, “Well, I AM brilliant.”
Keith faced another challenge in 2021 when he fell down the stairs of his two-level apartment, resulting in multiple serious injuries. His long-term recuperation meant Keith was in and out of the hospital and rehabilitation facilities. But for Keith, the worst part of this ordeal was the separation from his guide dog and best friend, Luna.
In order for Keith to return home, modifications would need to be made. His Council on Aging case manager, Sarah, worked with his landlord and medical team to obtain permission for a stairlift to be installed in his apartment, restoring full access to his apartment and allowing Keith to be reunited with Luna.
Thanks to PASSPORT, Keith has adjusted in his surroundings. “It means everything to me to be able to stay at home,” he says. “I love this place.”