Living With Special Needs

March 23, 2018

The world can be a challenging place, even under the best circumstances. When we suffer an injury or develop an illness that changes the way we get around, it can feel like every single day becomes an impossible struggle. Disabled people are not always given the respect they deserve in America. The Americans with Disabilities Act generally requires businesses to do things like provide handicapped parking spots and ensure that they have an accessible entrance and exit. However, there are some exceptions for places like historical buildings. Getting businesses to comply with the law can often be an uphill climb, even today. On top of that, many people with limited mobility have to deal with a new reality at home, as well.

Retrofitting Your Home

Whether you are living with special physical needs or simply live with someone who does, there are certain considerations to keep in mind. The stairs that you walked up and down every day may now be an insurmountable obstacle. A wheelchair lift may be required to get to the second floor and back again, or it may be time to look at installing a ramp. Sometimes a caretaker can help you get up or down the stairs, but there should be options available if the caretaker is not there.

The bathroom is another room that should be viewed with a fresh set of eyes. For able-bodied people, climbing over the lip of the bathtub every day to bathe is not that big of a deal. For those with limited mobility, however, it can feel like a minefield. Many older people have a profound fear of falling, because they know recovery from a broken bone usually gets more difficult with age. Walk-in tubs are a good option for people who are older or disabled, however you should not look at just one type of walk-in tub and buy it immediately. Read walk-in tubs reviews, and make sure you can find a model that works for you and your home. You may also face new issues using the restroom now, which could mean that you need to install something like guardrails around your toilet. A raised toilet seat can go a long way toward making you feel comfortable, rather than unsafe, as well. This is an important factor to consider, because no one should feel unsafe in their own bathroom or any other. Make sure everything else is in good shape in your house, too. If part of your house needs pipe support sooner rather than later, it is better to address things now.

Take Care Of Yourself

Society in general tends to perceive able-bodied people differently than those with disabilities. It is not uncommon for people with handicapped stickers on their cars to be questioned, because they do not “look” sick or injured. That blatantly disregards the reality that not every injury or illness is immediately obvious. Someone who is parked in a handicapped spot with the proper credentials does not owe anyone an explanation.

If they are not being questioned, people with disabilities are often outright ignored. Therapy can help in that regard. Being disabled is not the end of your life, and many people with disabilities live rich, full lives every day. However, your mind may need some care and attention to adjust to the new reality you are living.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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