Like many Arizonan’s Don Nelson and Bona Jordan found their way to Arizona, seeking affordable housing and low altitude in hopes of improving Don’s health.
Don, who is 60, suffers from COPD, asthma and chronic pain. The one-time software architect, could no longer drive to work, sit in an office all day or concentrate because of constant, excruciating pain. Don says, “My work just wasn’t up to par because of my health. I needed to find a way to use the creative side of my brain to provide some supplemental income for my wife and myself”.
In 2017, Don and Bona settled in Ajo, Arizona, a former copper-mining town in southern Arizona. Here they found a way to use their creativity and artisan talents to supplement their income, Don as a photographer and Bona in beading and as a seamstress.
The couple live modestly at the historic Curley School Artisan Apartments, a low-income housing community designed to attract artists to Ajo in an effort to drive economic development.
Bona is on Social Security and Medicare, however, at Don’s age, he is not eligible for social security and has applied for disability. Don says, “the high-cost of health insurance was impossible, especially with my pre-existing health conditions. I am so fortunate that just when it seemed there were no health insurance options available, I was surprised to learn about AHCCCS from medical professionals. They even helped me apply”.
Today, because of AHCCCS Don is receiving the care he needs to address his chronic health conditions with most of the medications he needs. He says, “It has been a blessing, I could not afford the proper treatments and the cost for medication was outrageous without insurance”.
Don and Bona both say that they are now able to live with dignity and not have to worry about choosing between buying food or health insurance.