You have hearing loss. Your wife has had a stroke leaving her with a partially paralyzed leg. You no longer drive, and you need a ride to a medical appointment.

The Resource Center for Disability Solutions has the answer to these and many other challenges.

With locations in Rockledge and Vero Beach, RCDS provides a variety of free services to area residents, including amplified phones for the hearing impaired; canes, walkers, wheelchairs and portable ramps for the physically impaired; and wheelchair accessible van rides for grocery shopping and medical and legal appointments.

Verifying your local address and your disability qualifies a consumer to receive services from their office.

“No asterisk after free,” said Ken Kerstetter, the RCDS program services manager. “We don’t diagnose and develop a treatment plan. The individual shares what their life goals are. It is consumer driven.”

An umbrella agency that can assess and refer to other resources, RCDS has been something of a secret to the public while primarily receiving referrals from the Department of Veterans Affairs, senior residences, vocational rehabilitation and the Brevard County Schools.

The RCDS has existed in Brevard County and Indian River County since 1975 as a nonprofit organization. It celebrated its 48th anniversary in February. It was Florida’s first Center for Independent Living, is one of 15 in the state and one of 352 independent nonprofits around the country.

Transition services are on hand for those who are going from a restrictive setting such as a nursing home to more independent living. Training is provided one on one or in groups in financial and household management, as well as social skills and personal care.

Referrals and resources are available to place the person with the appropriate services and information on special equipment. When funds are available, RCDS can provide home accessibility modifications.

To schedule an appointment or for additional information, email or go to