In many ways, Jessie “Pops” Thomas, 76, is the face of Amcal’s Palo Verde Terrace. A regular volunteer, he wakes up early to greet the residents with a smile and a cup of coffee. An ardent attendee at LifeSTEPS education classes, he’s the first one in the community room to help set-up, and the last to leave, helping with clean up. By attending the programs, he shares what he learns with other non-attending tenants, encouraging them to join the programs.
“LifeSTEPS programs give us seniors something to do. I’m not sitting in my apartment doing nothing,” Jesse says. “I get to have fun where I live and not have to roam around town.”
Unfortunately, Jesse has had difficulty with his foot. Last year LifeSTEPS helped him secure a cane through the Change a Life Foundation. Although the cane provided better support, he still required hospitalization in February 2014 due to an infection.
Once he was released the out-of-pocket expense for his medications created a financial hardship. The property manager, Darlene Holman, spoke with the LifeSTEPS DSS, Syreeta Brown, about qualifying Jesse for rental assistance, while the hospital arranged for a nurse to visit him at home. Darlene and Syreeta met with the nurse and the IHSS worker to make sure that his medical needs were being met.
In addition to collaborating with medical personnel, Syreeta worked with Jesse to create an action plan for getting back on his feet. She is working on getting him additional IHSS hours, and ACCESS and Dial-a-Ride transportation services. He is also using WalMart’s less expensive prescription services. Jesse is attending Health and Wellness, and financial literacy classes provided by LifeSTEPS, to help improve his overall quality of life. Syreeta checks in with him frequently to offer support and encouragement.
As such an active member of the community, Jesse has formed a strong base of friends who are willing to help during his recuperation. He receives help with grocery shopping, acquiring his prescriptions and various other needs.
Although recuperating, Jesse hasn’t missed a single LifeSTEPS activity since coming home from the hospital. His foot is healing, and although he is temporarily wheelchair bound, he is able to stand on his own. “LifeSTEPS programs are great,” he says. “I like all of the activities that allow me to have fun, live and dance with the women.” And no doubt, with all of the support he is receiving, Jesse will be on his feet dancing again in the very near future.