Barb Jones has a life now that she never knew was possible thanks to LifeWorks Community Services and the home she now lives in through the Home and Community Based Services program. Full of happiness she radiates joy for all that she has now. “I love living here because you get to do so much!”
Before this Barb has had much adversity in her life and she has overcome many obstacles. Barb was born in St. Cloud, Minnesota and moved to Fort Dodge shortly after she was born. She recalls being teased as a young child and had few friends. She lived her first 40 years with her mother and father. In 1998 she moved into Wahkonsa Manor in Fort Dodge. While she was living there she experienced a fire in which she lost most of her belongings. Only days later her partner of 10 years who also lived at Wahkonsa Manor, passed away. She says of this time in her life, “It was bad, it was really bad”. After the fire Barb moved in with her sister and during this time her father passed away. Her mother passed away only a year later.
Things really started looking up for Barb in November of 2008 when she was able to move into one of the waiver homes through LifeWorks. She lived there with three other housemates and describes how her life started changing for the better. “I started bowling which I love now!” She also began riding horses through the One Heart Equestrian Therapy program and attending camp through Lutheran Lakeside. Of camping and horseback riding she says, “These are my two most favorite things in the world to do”. She also seemed to be benefiting from staff dedicated to helping her with medical issues that had been plaguing her for quite some time.
In October of 2009 a space in another waiver home opened up with all females and Barb jumped at the chance to live there. Since then Barb has flourished even more. When she first moved in she walked with a walker and now she is walker free and actually uses a treadmill for exercise! Barb has been faithful to her goals and has lost a total of 18 pounds, causing her blood pressure to lower. She also swims and uses the incumbent bike at The Rec. Barb has recently started volunteering at the local humane society and says that it is “fun”. She spends time sitting and petting the cats and walking the dogs.
Barb also attends the Day Activities at LifeWorks and she says she loves it because she gets to make crafts and go out to eat. She says she likes the staff there and “just likes being around them”. When asked if she is a busy lady she says, “Got that right!”
Barb receives vocational services through LifeWorks and has secured a spot on a work crew that clean offices and dorms. Barb’s world changed drastically after working because things she could never afford were now hers. She was ecstatic to shop for new jeans for her thinner body and pretty new blouses. Earlier this year she was also able to afford to go on a trip. She was ecstatic to see all the sights and sounds of Kansas City and couldn’t wait to share tales of her experience with her housemates and staff. She is now better able to take care of her cat, Angel, who is the love of her life. She says of her, “She is just wonderful to be with. I love it when she sleeps by me and purrs all night. That’s so cute!” Barb is now also able to afford to buy fish for her aquarium which she has a passion for. She is able to afford bird food and corn for the squirrels that she watches with joy each day from her window. These activities help her recall fond memories she has of when her father was alive and she shared his love for animals and gardening.
Barb is close with her family and attends church at St. Paul Lutheran every Sunday.
Barb has been a wonderful addition to the home she now resides in. She is very responsible and is never afraid of hard work. Her staff tells her they love it when she cleans the kitchen. She shows compassion for her house mates and is supportive to their needs. When her roommates were asked what they liked about Barb they replied, “We like to go to football and basketball games and go camping with her. She is fun!” She is excited about life each day. When asked about what she looks forward to for her future she answered, “Well I haven’t thought about that before.” She smiled and looked down and then said, “I know, go on another trip!”
Date written: October 14, 2011