Media Advisory: Join a Virtual Press Event to Hear How the State’s Most Vulnerable People with Disabilities and Older Adults are Coping

For Immediate Release: April 21, 2020

Survival Coalition Co-Chair Contacts:

Lisa Pugh, pugh@thearc.org; (608) 422-4250

Beth Swedeen, beth.swedeen@wisconsin.gov; (608) 266-1166

Kristin M. Kerschensteiner, kitk@drwi.org; (608) 267-0214

COVID-19 is particularly dangerous to people with disabilities older adults, and people with chronic conditions. For these vulnerable individuals, it’s critical to help them stay healthy and ensure they have the supports they need to stay out of the hospital and nursing homes. In Wisconsin more than 85,000 people rely on in-home personal care, home health, and many other services to stay in their own homes and out of expensive Medicaid-funded institutions.

Unfortunately, many people with disabilities are being left on the sidelines. People have lost critical services, their lives have changed in critical ways, the service system is not responding, and in many cases the caregiving burden has shifted to aging family members or there is no one able to step in as back up.

  • What: People with Disabilities from across Wisconsin share their stories of the impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic; Survival Coalition will share results from a statewide survey
  • When: Thursday, April 24th at 10 AM.
  • Where: Register and participate via Zoom. Email: SurvivalCoalitionwi@gmail.com to
    receive the link.
  • Who: The Media will hear directly from the following individuals:

Kristi Scheunemann, Watertown, Wisconsin

Kristi uses a wheelchair and requires daily personal cares from providers who cannot access personal protective equipment even though her respiratory issues put her at high risk for COVID-19. She has been forced to move home with her family and lose her employment.

Jason Endres, Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Jason lives with his wife in Eau Claire and both use wheelchairs. He and his wife depend upon people coming to their home to help them with household chores and personal care. Care workers have stopped coming and now They are having difficulty even getting groceries delivered.

Stacy Ellingen, Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Stacy needs help with all of her basic needs such as toileting, showering, dressing, and feeding. She has lost all of her care workers during the crisis and was forced to move from her apartment. She cannot obtain Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and worries this will prevent her from being able to find reliable workers when she returns home. 

Gladys Walker, Nekoosa, Wisconsin

Gladys’ 5-year-old son is non-verbal and no longer has school services or needed therapies. He recently had a 107-degree fever but neither he nor his family members were able to get a COVID-19 test.  It has been a struggle to keep her son engaged while the family is also balancing life with another young child at home.

See full Press Advisory doc.