With a diagnosis of supranuclear palsy in 2019, life has been anything but ordinary and effortless for the Tipton family. Les is nonverbal and his wife Gina spends her days as his caretaker tending to his needs as this terminal disease progresses.
“It’s a pretty unforgiving disease,” said Gina. “It’s pretty tough to see someone who was always a worker go through this. It kind of hit us out of the left field. There’s a little bit more of him taken every day.”
In hindsight, Gina reminisces about seeing the warning signs for years, missteps here and there from Les. At the onset of the diagnosis, Les would rely on Gina to hold his hand. With the diseases crippling his sense of balance, falls ensued as time went on.
“That’s what this palsy is,” said Gina. “He loses his balance.” Once Les transitioned to a wheelchair, the two had a ramp installed leading up to their home.“I almost felt like we needed a winch to winch him up,” Gina said in good humor. “For the consumer, there’s no way I could’ve afforded to redo that ramp.”
It’s been a challenge,” Gina said. “And to have someone like LIFTT come out and help us, it’s mind-boggling really. Someday I hope to repay them. They’ve been a Godsend to us really.”
Access in and out of their home became a herculean feat for Gina. She ran across some information on LIFTT on Facebook. She remembered being unsure whether they would be able to ease the task of transporting her husband, or whether they were overqualified for assistance. LIFTT was able to track down a grant that covered the cost of a new ramp for the Tiptons.
“They did a wonderful job,” said Gina. “They were the ones who went out looking for the grants. I’m very happy with it. Those wheelchairs aren’t exactly light. I wasn’t aware we were able to get help like that.”
In the midst of an entirely new reality for the Tiptons, Gina expressed her sincere gratitude for the ways in which LIFTT supports consumers like her. “It’s been a challenge,” Gina said. “And to have someone like LIFTT come out and help us, it’s mind-boggling really. Someday I hope to repay them. They’ve been a Godsend to us really.”
This July will mark 45 years of marriage for Les and Gina. “We’ve always said we’d try to help each other as much as possible,” she said.