For many farm family members and rural residents with a disability, Rural Solutions represents their only hope of returning to farming and their communities. Easter Seals Iowa offers agricultural work site and home modification consultations, peer support, services for the family, information and referrals, and medical equipment loan services. Team members are knowledgeable about resources throughout the state that can address the unique needs of rural family members with disabilities, and actively pursue services that will enhance their lives. Funding is provided by the State of Iowa for this program.
Disability Rights Iowa created, Journey Forward--A Resource Guide for Iowa's Farmers with Disabilities. Information about Rural Solutions and other considerations and resources are included in this guide.
Adam’s Rural Solutions Story
At 28 years old, Adam didn’t expect to be paralyzed. After a snowmobile accident, Adam knew he wanted to continue farming, but didn’t know how he would be able to continue his way of life. With the support of the Easterseals Iowa Rural Solutions program, Adam is able to continue his farming operation. He now utilizes a truck with a lift that allows him to get into tractors and combines and an Action Track Chair that works in all types of terrain.
Ryan, My Dream Came True
Ryan Odens and his brother Nick from Little Rock, Iowa, farm 1,100 acres of corn and soybeans and 50 acres of hay. His family says all Ryan has ever wanted to do is farm and carry on the family legacy. After a pickup truck accident, Ryan’s family wasn’t sure what the future held. Ryan started to show great improvement physically and had a great support system through his family, friends and Easterseals Iowa.
Kaleb’s Rural Solutions Story
Kaleb has a passion for farming and dedication to his family. Nothing was going to hold him back from reaching his goals and continuing his way of life. Check out how Easterseals Iowa supported Kaleb after a farming accident.
Serving Veterans and their Families, Mike and Trish
Easter Seals Iowa Rural Solutions program supports Iowans with disabilities to pursue agriculture or continue farming after accident or illness. Mike planned to be a career soldier. But after the Iraqi war veteran was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and a motorcycle accident left him with severe head and leg injuries, his life changed. He lost his sense of purpose, until Easter Seals Iowa stepped in.
A rural rehabilitation specialist travels to the home and performs assessments of the home and farming operation. Changes are recommended for each family to continue the rural way of life. Our team members make suggestions and work with the rural family member to identify possible modifications to assist the rural family member with a disability.
Easter Seals does not pay for housing or farming accommodations, nor do we pay for assistive devices. Our staff works with the family and other agencies that may consider funding the assistive devices. Additionally, we will share ideas and information regarding selecting an assistive device, to assist in making the best decision.
Support is an integral part of helping rural families continue their livelihood after a disability or illness. Volunteers (rural family members) who have a similar disability provide emotional support to others who have recently been disabled. One-on-one support is also provided to help families adapt to their new lifestyle and to use assistive technology. The combination of personal and professional guidance has had a profound and uplifting affect on many rural family members.
We work with the entire family unit, not just the person with the disability, to determine the best way to assist the individual with the disability. Sometimes the solution is an adaptation of an every day tool. Other times it involves suggestions on how to design a home for increasing mobility and convenience. And other times it is simply listening and offering support after the life changing events of acquiring a disability.
Rural Solutions includes a safety education component that teaches farm family members with disabilities how to prevent secondary injuries (which are very common among farm family members who have disabilities, many of whom "make do" rather than seek professional guidance on how to safely continue farming.) This is an extremely important part of the program, which helps farm family members continue to farm safely for the long term.
Rural Solutions staff will assist the rural family to connect with other community resources and agencies that may be of additional service to the rural family to help them reach their goals after acquiring a disability.
Easter Seals Equipment Loan services provides a valuable resource. We loan the equipment at a nominal fee to individuals with disabilities or illness. Equipment includes wheelchairs, walkers, canes, commodes and more.
Any farm family member with a disability or individual with a disability living in a town with a population less than 2,500 is eligible for services through the Rural Solutions program. Easter Seals Iowa Rural Solutions services are provided free of charge to the individual and family receiving the services.