t.l.c. home requests help with services

Mar. 08, 2013 @ 05:02 AM

Lee County’s only home for severely disabled adults is looking for help maintaining and upgrading the services it offers.

Founded in 1987 to provide 24/7 care to individuals with profound or severe intellectual and developmental disabilities who also have additional handicaps, the t.l.c. home is at capacity with 10 residents. And with its third-annual golf tournament scheduled for May 4, the group is hoping to raise several thousand dollars for renovations to a sensory stimulation room and purchases of specialized wheelchairs and a new handicapped-accessible van, as well as general upkeep expenses.

Executive Director Rita Oglesby said all 10 residents need custom-built wheelchairs, which can cost between $8,000 and $15,000. And as for the stimulation room, she said, many of those at the home would benefit greatly from the stations that would have items to pique their senses — like good smells, interesting textures, intriguing noises and the like.

“Our clients that we have currently are very low functioning, and some of them only respond to sensory things like fiberoptics,” she said. Regarding the home’s overall needs, she added, “I have a long list.”

The t.l.c. home, which stands for “tender loving care,” was founded by local parents of disabled children who didn’t want to have to send them to facilities in Raleigh or cities even farther away. It transitioned to an adult care facility after several years, when the original clients grew up.

Now, Oglesby said, the residents are all between 27 and 50. The home holds 10 beds because that’s the maximum allowed by the state, said Kathy Kostrewa, president of the home’s board of directors, and it’s almost always at capacity.

“We are dependent on the community for funds,” Kostrewa said. “Obviously, all of our clients are on Medicaid, but that only covers so much. Other things, we have to pay for ourselves.”

She said the new van is important because staff sometimes takes them to dinner or on other outings. Added Oglesby: “They love to go bowling, and I don’t know what it is, but they really love Walmart.”

To support the home in its tournament fundraiser, $60 will buy a tee time, lunch and prizes, and $100 will buy a hole sponsorship. It’s the larger of two annual fundraisers the group puts on, with the other being the recent Special Date for Eight event that Kostrewa said raised about $3,000 raffling off dinner and a show from Cafe 121 and Temple Theatre.