Harold's Story: Haven't Had a Bad Day Since


Harold Anderson was in a nursing home for seven years before returning to the community after being represented by the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc.  He is now an active client board member.  Listen to Harold Tell His StoryHarold Anderson returned to the community from a nursing home on March 1, 2010.  “I tell people I really haven’t had a bad day since.”  Harold was represented by the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, which brought an administrative action to get him out of the nursing home after he had been there for seven years.

At age 49, Harold was hospitalized with Rheumatoid Arthritis that caused him to lose a lot of his movement.  He was then transferred to nursing home.  “When I was in the nursing home, . . . the treatment, the noise, the smells [were] horrific.”  Harold wanted to get out of the nursing home for a long time.  Sometimes, he would just think about riding his wheelchair out the doors on to the highway. The reality was that he needed medical and personal supports in the community.  Finally, he found a social worker who helped him apply for a Medicaid Waiver that would provide these supports where ever he lived at a much lower cost.

Unfortunately, Georgia summarily denied Harold the Medicaid Waiver saying that he had too many needs.  That is when “I got hooked up with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society . . . [and they] orchestrated my escape.”  Atlanta Legal Aid filed an administrative appeal and organized a mediation with a state hearing officer and a state attorney at the nursing facility.  The state agreed to provide Harold a Medicaid Waiver. 

“When I was in the nursing home, I always stayed sick, “said Anderson.  “I was in the deepest darkest depths of despair.”  Now, Anderson says he hasn’t been sick since he left the nursing home.

Harold has become a valuable member of the Atlanta Legal Aid  Society Board of Directors.  He serves on the executive committee and the budget committee where he has been an inspiration to other  board members not only because of his story but also his  dedication and commitment to the work of  being a board member.  He doesn’t miss meetings.  He also has chosen, even after attempts to dissuade him, to give regular financial donations to Atlanta Legal Aid.  The advocates at Atlanta Legal Aid have a deep admiration for Harold not only for his story, but what he has done for others.  What I really admire about Harold,” said Toni Pastore, “is that he gives back every day – to us, to other people who are still in nursing homes, and random people on the street.”