As all of us are navigating life and getting older, supporting aging parents, or may have children with special needs; you can quickly find yourself in uncharted territory. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and you may end up with an unexpected illness or injury and you don’t know where to turn. Empower: abilities is your community resource center for disability services and assistance. Although you may not have heard of them, they’ve been serving our community since 1985! Located on the southwest side of Springfield, they provide free services to anyone with a disability, with no age requirement. If you are living with a disability or know someone who is, they are the place to call.
Empower: abilities offers help in a wide range of areas, such as assistance applying for Social Security benefits, Medicare and Medicaid eligibility, and they offer a youth program for disabled students and families to plan for life after high school. Individuals who receive Medicaid, or are able to self-pay, may be eligible for in-home services to receive help with household chores or personal care in their home. They even help with relocating individuals out of nursing facilities and back into the community so they can regain their independence.
Empower: abilities’ location includes a large assistive technology department with hundreds of devices that you can try for yourself. Trained staff can help make your life easier with adaptive aids and equipment to help with everyday tasks that may be hard or impossible due to conditions such as arthritis, Parkinson’s or stroke. They have items that help live with vision loss, such as magnifiers, large print products and talking clocks. For people with hearing loss, they have devices that help with hearing the television, doorbells and smoke detectors with strobe lights. They have many items that can help with getting dressed, opening doors and jars, cooking and other daily tasks. Their staff can help you apply for a free phone program and obtain computer related accessories through Missouri’s Telecommunications Assistance Program. They offer a large assortment of durable medical equipment to keep you safe and prevent injuries in the home, such as bath benches, shower chairs and walkers. If you have equipment you no longer need they also take in donations of durable medical equipment and donate them back out to those who need it.
Empower: abilities provides simple home modifications such as ramps, grab bars and door widening for low-income individuals and for those who don’t qualify at an affordable rate. Their location also has a lift-chair showroom where you can try out a variety of styles and features. They are a Golden Technologies Lift Chair vendor and offer very competitive prices!
Empower: abilities works to educate builders and contractors on the urgent need for more accessible and universally designed housing so that apartments and homes don’t have to be adapted when a person’s abilities change. There is a universal design apartment within their office space that highlights the simple changes that can be made when building that allow for aging in the home and also convenience of living that really everyone can benefit from. Universal Design means at least one entrance to the home with no steps, wider doors and hallways, more space in the bathroom and appliances and kitchen areas that allow someone who uses a walker or wheelchair to move easily about and still have the ability to cook and use their home to the fullest. The universal design apartment at empower: abilities is available for viewing by the public and has been used as a tool to educate builders and developers, students, future professionals and potential homebuyers.
If you want to get involved, empower abilities is always looking for volunteers to help build ramps (no experience needed), or help with social events or help move people out of nursing homes, they would love to hear from you. Call 417-886-1188 to be connected with the right staff. Office hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m.-4 p.m., at 1450 W. Cambridge.