Monday, June 04, 2018

Living With Physical Disabilities

Yours Truly, katlupe

I have found living with a limited physical disability pretty hard in the past. Living in a regular two story house was hard for me. It was hard even coming into my house because there were stairs to get up and the inside of the house really had no room for using a walker or if ever needed in the future, a wheelchair. The apartment building I have moved into is geared to people with disabilities or elderly residents in general. Having worked in my past life as a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant), a HHA (Home Health Aid) and as a PCA (Personal Care Aid), I knew the things I needed to make my life easier and keep my independence. Just because your family says they don't mind doing everything for you, that does not mean you are comfortable asking them. I remembered all those little things that the people I took care of needed or wanted. So when I started looking for other options for me, I found that moving into an apartment set up with that in mind was the perfect answer.

kat's Studio door

Now that I am living here, there is no looking back. If you have a physical disability and cannot do simple things for yourself, you get depressed about it. I am happy to say that here, I have my own independence back! I have friends who help me, such as buying stuff from the store for me or taking me to the store. That is not what I am talking about. I am talking about the jobs you do every day, such as showering, making your bed, cooking, putting your groceries away, mopping, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning bunny rabbit cages, laundry, etc. Those every day jobs that you want to do yourself, or at least I did and still do. I hated asking for help or that feeling of being forced to ask for help because I could not do whatever it was. Nobody made me feel bad about asking, it was just in my own mind.

The ramp

There are so many benefits for someone who has been struggling to just walk to the bathroom. Here I have a ramp to use that takes me from outside to the door and from there to an elevator to my apartment, which is on the second floor. My apartment, even being a studio, is quite roomy and there is plenty of room for my walker and if I ever needed a wheelchair, there is room for that too. I have a huge bathroom with a big walk-in shower that I love. I bought a shower chair to use in it and believe me, taking a shower has never been such a hedonist event for me before. What a luxurious way to take my shower! No worry about falling in there now!

My Kitchen

My kitchen has once again become a place for me to create delicious meals. I had lost interest in cooking for some time now. I realize now, it was not the actual cooking that I was dreading and trying to avoid, but the fact that the kitchen was not easy for me to work in. Not any longer. The kitchen here is small, but everything is within an easy reach. Some days if I am having much trouble getting around, and recently I was very sick and didn't do much cooking at all, I can just make up some cold foods that don't require any additional cooking at all. I suppose that is the advantage to living alone too. Cooking for one is a lot less work, not only in the food preparation but also in the clean-up. I try to keep on top of the clean-up work by keeping a dishpan of hot soapy water in the sink while I prepare the meal. I am using an Instant Pot or a toaster oven instead of the big oven in the electric cooking range. Uses less power, does not heat up my apartment and causes me to use smaller pans. I make it a rule to follow Fly Lady and never leave dirty dishes in my sink overnight!

Downstairs to the laundry room

A perk of living in the apartment building I am in, is that it has a laundry room downstairs. Having come from an off-the-grid house, the laundry was one of those jobs that had become way too hard for me. I was washing the laundry by hand and seems I could hardly ever catch up, especially in cold or rainy weather. Here using smart card technology, I just put some time on the card, pretty much like you do a cellphone and use that in the washer and dryers. Take my laundry down and put it in the washing machine, come back in an hour and move it to a dryer. Back to my apartment and when the time is up, I go back downstairs and fold my load. Easy as could be and it is job I look forward to.

kat's cat collection

Having less things makes for less work. If you feel overwhelmed due to a lot of furniture or other possessions that you have to take care of, it can tire you out. I was tired out just trying to organize all my things. What good are they if they sit in a box and you never take them out? Never use them? I have parted with many items that I never thought I would give up. And you know what? I feel like I had a weight lifted off my shoulders. I really do. Moving made me really take note on how much stuff I really had. I kept the things I use or what gives me pleasure. An example of something that gives me pleasure is I have a curio cabinet that holds my collection of ceramic and some brass, cats. I have collected them over the years and many were gifts. I look at them often and in the evenings like to put the light on so they really stand out. Yes, I get pleasure from owning them!

Leaving off residents after a day of shopping

One more reason for moving into a senior housing apartment is that after having lived for close to nineteen years in the middle of the state forest, I found I had no friends. I was alone except for my husband and my critters. I needed interaction. I needed people to talk to, to laugh with, to enjoy. Living downtown in a small city gives me the option to walk to various shops, churches, restaurants, the library, hair salon, etc. I now have a mobile walker, which I will be writing about in a future post so I won't go into that much now. It has made me able to be a lot more independent. There is a county transit bus system that comes here and takes people to various stores and other places. There are local taxi cabs and delivery services available. It has made the option of living without a motor vehicle possible for me and it was something I always wanted to do. Not having to pay for vehicle expenses, covers my electric, internet, cellphone and a large portion of my rent. I like that trade off! 

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole 

All Photographs Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole

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