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Jack's Story

The helping house that Jack built
Family Business

Author: Joseph P. Shapiro
Section: U.S. News
Page: 27

When Doreen Rosimos was 10, her mother, on her deathbed, left a letter with instructions for life: "Don't lie, don't steal, and take care of Jack." Jack was her severely disabled older brother, who would spend much of his life in state hospitals. Doreen would spend much of her life trying to get him out.

Today, at 55, Jack Rosimos is proving that even a man totally dependent upon others can both get and give care. Rosimos was a pioneer of the original Monadnock Self-Determination Project in New Hampshire that helped reunite Cathy Neff with her twin. Five years ago, with his sister's help, Rosimos used his state funds to buy a ranch house in Keene, N.H. (And with his property taxes, Rosimos, for the first time, became a taxpayer, instead of simply a user of state funds.) He then found the full-time caregiver he needed by offering Betty Maylin and her husband, Donald, a free place to live. Various Maylin children and grandchildren have lived there, too. Today, the result is a big extended family that goes out for chicken dinner on Friday nights and rents a house at Disney World each spring.

Rosimos is so disabled that he needs assistance even with basic things like eating, dressing, and bathing. He can't walk, the result of his severe cerebral palsy. And his spe! ech is often jumbled, the result of his mental retardation and psychiatric illnesses. But Jack turns out to have something to give back to those who care for him. Holly, the Maylins' daughter, says she had little direction until she started helping her mother care for Jack and realized she enjoyed it. Holly got her training as a certified nursing assistant and now works at a nearby nursing home (attending to, among others, Jack's aunt).

And Jack has turned into an entrepreneur. He is among a small number who have begun using their self-determination budgets to set up microenterprise businesses. Recently, he purchased two snack-vending machines and rented them to nearby workplaces. With Holly's partner, Joe Cook, he makes weekly rounds filling the machines and collecting the coins. As a result, Cook, a high school dropout, developed an interest in setting up his own business. Jack's sister, Doreen, also has learned from helping her brother. She is now a consultant who! travels the country helping states set up similar self-determination experiments.

Copyright 2001 U.S. News & World Report, Inc.

More about Jack:

Jack's Back!
By Kris Copeland May, 2003

"Jack is doing so well that his home health care nurses only have to come every ten days, he's happy and he has been flirting with Darcy and other women," says Doreen Rosimos.

Jack Rosimos, who is Doreen's brother and an advocate in his own right, having pioneered self-determination in his home state of New Hampshire, lapsed into a coma last summer while on vacation with friends and family. One moment he was enjoying a sunny day at a picnic and the next he was receiving CPR. He had aspirated on a cracker.

After a lengthy stay in Intensive Care and a sometimes rocky road in the aftermath, Jack has been doing much better lately. He still needs total care, including feeding, dressing, and moving of his limbs. But Jack has been able to hire people -- professionals, friends and family-- who have helped in his recovery and in maintaining the quality of his life. He still is not able to speak because of a trach, but Jack is home where he belongs, surrounded by people that he knows and loves, his house, his things, his bed that his Aunt Julia gave him, his pigeons (exotic parrots). He can keep an eye (and he does) on his most beloved possessions, his radios and flashlights.

For the first several months, Doreen stayed close by and she and Darcy Smith, her business partner, shut down their micro-enterprise trainings. Doreen continued to offer some physical care for Jack even as she led the team of people advocating to keep his funding and assure the services Jack needed.

Jack's cousins, Butch and Penny Bosley, as they had for many years, were the people who actually lived with Jack and daily helped him meet his needs for support and companionship. They've had to learn new ways of communicating with Jack as well as how to perform a number of new medical and therapeutic procedures. They next plan to help Jack get used to a new type of trach device which should help him talk again.

Doreen says that people really pulled around Jack, in a way that she didn't think was possible. "It's due entirely to flexible budgeting, says Doreen. It gave us the tools to create opportunities for Jack by bringing people into his life that could make a difference. Jack's costs are shockingly low for the level of care that he needs. His annual costs are about the same as what they would be for 2 months in a licensed facility that could deliver the same level of care."

Jack would still enjoy receiving cards or e-mails. E-mail: doreenrosimos@incomelinks.biz


 


55B Main Street   •  Keene, NH  03455
Phone: 603-493-2093

E-mail:    Doreen Rosimos: doreenrosimos@incomelinks.biz    

 Darcy Wilson: darcy@incomelinks.biz

 

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