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The Ekelund Family Finds Serenity at Home with Accra Personal Care Attendants

Accra serves many individuals and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder

Photo of Elizabeth and her Accra Personal Care Assistant Amy
Elizabeth (right) and her PCA Amy (left)

“With the Accra PCAs that we work with, I know that Elizabeth’s safety is just as important to them as it is to me.”

Rebekah Ekelund
Photo of Elizabeth and her Personal Care Assistant Amy

Elizabeth’s Story

Like most energetic kindergarteners, Elizabeth is a happy child who loves to run, jump, swing and climb. She is caring to those around her and comforts others with hugs.

“One of her most prominent traits is that she’s an amazing problem solver – she loves puzzles and trying to figure out how to get something she wants off of a high shelf,” her mother Rebekah said laughing.

Elizabeth, who is on the autism spectrum, requires constant one-on-one attention for assistance with ADLs (activities of daily living) and general safety. When her RP (responsible party) and mother, Rebekah Ekelund, started working with Accra’s PCA (personal care assistant) Choice program in 2018, she had high hopes that the services would help alleviate the daily stressors of life with an autistic child, and most importantly, ensure that her daughter’s safety and daily needs would be met.

Saving Time and Trust with PCA Choice

Rebekah first learned about PCA Choice services when Elizabeth was attending Head Start, an early childhood program through the Minnesota Department of Education. And now, with Elizabeth in kindergarten, they could not picture their lives without the support from Accra.

“With the Accra PCAs that we work with, I know that Elizabeth’s safety is just as important to them as it is to me,” Rebekah said.

With a larger than average family, Rebekah and her husband have their hands full with caring for Elizabeth’s five older siblings, while managing school schedules, extracurriculars and household duties. So when the family found out Elizabeth was eligible for PCA services, they were excited to finally bring in the help they needed. Luckily, Rebekah already knew someone who was an Accra PCA—someone she trusted and wanted as a caregiver for her daughter—which made the caregiver transition much easier for the family.

Everybody Helps Out

On a typical weekday, Elizabeth attends kindergarten and ABA (applied behavior analysis) therapy during the daytime, and a PCA cares for her at home in the late afternoon. Then from 7  p.m. to 9 p.m., Elizabeth’s 16-year-old brother, who is now an eligible PCA, helps with her bedtime routine.

It’s not just the family that goes above and beyond to take care of Elizabeth. One of the family’s PCAs attended an occupational therapy appointment with Elizabeth to observe specific therapeutic techniques. Now, this PCA is able to utilize those practices while working at home with her.

The Ekelund family and Elizabeth’s Accra caregivers are optimistic about her future. They hope that Accra’s services will help set Elizabeth up for success in later years and assist her in establishing independence.

Before teaming up with Accra, Rebekah and her family took on a lot of emotional and physical stress as they juggled Elizabeth’s constant care—including monitoring her for safety, toileting, bathing, dressing and more—along with regular household duties and supporting the other children. Now, in partnership with Accra, Rebekah and her husband have the space to breathe, find balance in life and rest assured that Elizabeth is safe and receiving the best care possible.