Project LIVELY Client Story

71-year-old healthier, happier thanks to care coordinator

By Karrey Britt | Communications Coordinator

During the past year, Bill Commings, 71, has moved from a nursing home to an apartment with the help of Susan Ridenour, Project LIVELY care coordinator. His health has improved significantly and he’s happier because he feels more in control of his own life.

“Kudos to Ms. Susie here, I’m much better,” he said, smiling at her during an in-home visit. “It was like there was this Jigsaw puzzle and, one by one, she was putting in all of the pieces. She’s provided me with a lot of resources.”

Bill, who retired from AT&T, has multiple medical conditions. He has experienced a heart attack, had quadruple bypass surgery and recovered from a fractured hip.

“Susan came to me at a pivotal time in my life,” he said. His family thought he should live in a nursing home, but that’s not where he wanted to be. He said Susan helped him connect with the resources he needed to live independently. “She took care of everything — from haircuts to shoes.” Now, his family is happy, too.

Susan meets with Bill on a regular basis and the frequency depends on Bill’s needs. Susan has assisted him with financial organization, health insurance, medications and appointments. She helped him find a personal care attendant who visits several times a week to help with bathing, meal preparation and other household chores. She also signed him up for the Meals on Wheels program.
Project LIVELY
Photo Above: Project LIVELY Care Coordinator Susan Ridenour, left, visits with 71-year-old Bill Commings in his apartment. They talk about starting a new filing system for his paperwork and getting him an electronic wheelchair so he can visit friends nearby.

New partnership

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical teamed up with Project LIVELY program in 2016 to provide better health outcomes for residents. Read story here.
Susan communicates regularly with his nurse and therapist at Heartland Community Health Center, pharmacist and other health care providers. Bill said Susan visited with him about using a FlexPen for injecting insulin. A nurse showed him how to use it and the FlexPen has helped stabilize his diabetes. Susan also was able to get him diabetic shoes through community resources. “My feet feel so good,” he said, smiling.

Bill said Susan is good at finding solutions. He recalled Susan setting up a conference call with his former employer about changes occurring to his retirement supplement. “The whole thing was overwhelming and confusing,” he said. “She helped me through that process of understanding what was happening.” 

Susan said she works with Bill on creating goals and then they focus on how to achieve them. She said he has been open to the opportunities available to him and that’s made a significant difference. “Bill is willing to give things a try and that’s important,” she said.

Bill is grateful for Project LIVELY. “The kind of help that Susan has given me has enabled me to stay here and get the care I need as opposed to going back into a nursing home,” he said.