Born in the state of Texas, Ofelia is a charming woman with a sweet smile who has resided most of her life with her parents in the San Fernando Valley. After the loss of her mother and father, she went to live with her twin sister Phyl and brother-in law Bob. But between Phyl’s health challenges making it difficult for her to care for her sister and simultaneous health complications that landed a skilled nursing facility stay for Ofelia, a long-term option had to be sought out.
An important consideration for Ofelia and her family was that if she was going to live away from home, the desire was to still live in a family environment. This was what Ofelia had been use to her entire life. In June 2007 her wish came true when at the age of 70 she moved to Community Options, Inc.’s (COI) - Astrid Leiva Family Home. The Leiva house is located not very far from Phyl’s home which allows her to have frequent visits with her sister, continue seeing the same doctors, and remain in a community familiar to her.
When she first moved there, Ofelia was overweight, used a wheelchair nearly 100% of the time and walked very slowly because of swelling in her feet. She worked with a Community Options appointed dietitian and lost nearly 20 lbs. in 14 months. She now exercises 20 to 30 minutes daily and rarely has to use a wheelchair. She even walks without her walker inside the house.
Ofelia feels very comfortable living in a bilingual environment where she is able to continue enjoying her culture, music, and cooking. She takes pride in making her own bed every morning, taking out her trash, and putting her clothes away. She likes to cook preparing guacamole, meatballs, cakes, and making masa for quesadillas. She also enjoys making beaded necklaces to give to her friends. She has a great relationship with the four Leiva children where there is mutual respect and admiration.
Astrid has placed a great emphasis on bringing Ofelia into the family circle. She has been on family camping trips. She attends a local church where she has made many friends, and participates in activities such as volunteering in the babysitting room. She went to Disneyland for the first time this year, and rode all the rides including Space Mountain and Indiana Jones. She traveled to Las Vegas with her care providers. And when Astrid went out looking to buy a new car, she ended up buying the car that Ofelia picked.
Her service coordinator Helen Sheneman sees Ofelia as a real success story. There was a comfort level with Astrid and her family from the beginning and Phyl felt great relief knowing that Ofelia is in good hands and has been accepted into the Leiva family.
Ingrid Rushing, President of Community Options feels that team work has been instrumental to Ofelia’s success.
“Helen’s a great advocate, Julie at Tierra knows her really well, and Claudia and Marisela are there to provide support. And for people like Astrid who has been certified with COI, as a family home provider, there are many benefits. You are able to work from home and you are able to enhance the home and quality of life for an individual,” says Rushing.
For Ofelia, it couldn’t have worked out any better. She tells people, “Esta es mi casa,” or “This is my home.”
Phyl and Ofelia
Ofelia Nunez, William Leiva, Astrid Leiva
"Ofelia likes to look pretty and
wear matching jewelry."