A News 8 follow up now on some of the stories we brought you last year when state budget cuts started affecting hundreds of families with members that have disabilities. The cuts resulted in group home closings and consolidations and one mother is speaking out because she says the outcome for her son has not been good.
53-year-old Andy Puglisi was happy and doing well at the group home where he had lived for 18 years. He has cortical blindness, so he needs assistance walking. He also has cerebral palsy, and is subject to seizure.
He can walk and talk but needs assistance brushing his teeth, buttoning his shirt and going to the toilet. His mom, Lois Nitch of Rocky Hill says, “I’m very angry because the program that my son Andy was in, it was beautiful, it wasn’t broken and now it’s broken and he’s broken.”
Original Story: Mother calls state budget stalemate “criminal”
Because of state budget cuts the group home was closed; and 15 months ago Andy was moved to another group home. His mother says that disruption cause a rapid decline in Andy’s disposition and and physical health to the point where he stays in his room a lot of the time. “He’s confused, he doesn’t feel good. He tells me, ‘I feel sick mom’ and I think part of the sickness is this process of losing everybody that he knew,” says Lois.
For Lois, who turns 75 next month, it means no easy retirement. She’s now had to move Andy again to a group home closer to her home in Rocky Hill adding, “I thought I had all the pieces in place for Andy
so that as he aged and I aged he was comfortable, he was happy, he was safe, he was healthy as he could be and this really was a blind side to me.”
The director of ‘Oak Hill’, the non profit agency that takes care of Andy and about 40,000 other Connecticut residents with disabilities says he’s working with the incoming Lamont administration to try to find ways to better plan for a continuation of care for people like Andy.