NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) — Staying in contact and caring for one another may have turned virtual during this crisis, but for people with disabilities, care still needs to be hands on.

Just ask Connie Marable. It’s the type of work she’s done for 27 years and has being doing with Progress Inc. for the last 12. The non-profit serves about 350 people in Middle Tennessee. Connie takes care of Paige. Connie saying, “I don’t have any kids or anything. My mother’s 90 so she stays at home and she’s not coming out so it’s just coming here. Paige is about the closest thing you know.”

Paige has cerebral palsy and lives in a home with two other roommates who are also in wheelchairs. Pamela Styles also lives there to take care of Paige and her roommates when Connie isn’t there. Pamela says before the shutdown, “they would get dressed and they hit the road and do their community things. And when that stopped we had to think of ways to keep their minds occupied so that’s been the difficult part. To do something interesting everyday for them.”

They’ve taken steps at the house to try and keep the roommates safe. That includes taking everyone’s temperature, limiting their time out, disinfecting, and washing all hands.

“It’s difficult for them because they’re used to going out. They want to be out and try as we may to explain to them, they just like to be out. But they know we’re trying to keep them safe,” says Styles.

They’re doing puzzles, working on math, and even watching old football games to stay busy. Styles would says the real heroes are the Direct Support Professionals like Connie. “They are awesome. I can not say enough about them. They come in here and spend time with these individuals and they don’t have to. But they do it. Yeah they’re awesome. I couldn’t do what I do without them.”

With tears in her eyes she goes on to say, “It’s just so important that people understand that although everything is shut down, we are not and we are still working everyday and caring for people everyday. And trying to keep them safe everyday. So yeah it gets a little emotional.”

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