Soon after 72-year-old Judith Williams retired in January, most of the Toledo woman’s monthly Social Security benefits and declining savings were going toward rent and utilities. By June, Judith’s gas was turned off because she was behind on payments, forcing her to microwave water to bathe. And Judith didn’t have enough money for food.
Thankfully, Judith was referred to Glori Puskarich, a Toledo/Lucas County CareNet community health worker. Glori helped Judith apply for Medicaid to supplement her Medicare coverage and food stamps through the Lucas County Department of Job & Family Services. With Glori’s help, Judith also gets home-delivered meals and again has gas to heat both her home and water.
“Glori’s just amazing – she does it all,” Judith says. “She went down to welfare with me. Who does that?”
CareNet has four community health workers who help low-income Lucas County residents like Judith get connected to needed medical and social services. Judith says she is grateful that CareNet provides these care coordination services and wants to tell other people about them.
“I didn’t know these services existed,” Judith says of CareNet’s community health workers. “The help really goes deep. It’s wonderful.”
Judith and Glori continue working as a team to meet the older woman’s needs on a fixed income, including arranging utility assistance and getting both her vision and hearing checked.
“We’ve had laughs together. We’ve cried together,” says Judith, a lively mother of three and grandmother of 12. “We just took to one another.”
Judith hasn’t been to a doctor for 20 years, in part because she was unable to afford health insurance through her employer when she was working. She also admits she is afraid of what medical problems a doctor may find after all this time, but Glori has promised to go with her. And while Judith can no longer work six days a week as a hotel breakfast host, she is considering the offer to return a couple of days a week to earn some extra income.
Glori – and her CareNet coworkers – are glad to be there to help Lucas County residents like Judith make plans and decisions to improve their health and well-being.