Olmstead Does Not Stop at the Institution’s Doors — And Neither Can Advocacy

Olmstead Rights

Integration does not just mean getting out of an institution (unless that is all a person wants).  Of course, getting out is essential, but, for lots of people, it will only be the beginning of full integration.  Each person returning to the community must have reasonable opportunities to be interconnected into the community as he or she chooses.

Picture of older African American man in wheelchair Willie Gray was in a nursing facility for 8 years before returning to the community. He is now 82 and a disability rights advocate in Atlanta.

People who have been in institutions for a long time have likely lost many of their connections to the community.  It is typical for a person stuck in a nursing home to not have a motorized wheelchair, transportation, or any real way of getting out and about.  The nursing home parking lot becomes an impregnable wall fencing the person into the nursing home.  Friends and relatives may visit, but…

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