Wednesday, 27 April 2016

How Moving improved my Independence

My dad recently had surgery to sort out his hernia; with him being out of action the boys and I have been spending more time at his to clean, tidy and help him out where possible.  However, being there again this week has made me reflect on the positives of moving to a fully adapted flat.
The family home, where I lived with dad for 3 years after mum passed, is a detached 2 story property that was designed by my parents in the early 60s. With the style and age of the house a few features made it difficult for me to live comfortably there. Examples of these are large steps in and out of the property, going upstairs and an inaccessible kitchen and bathroom.

I lived and survived there because I knew that I had to stay and care for my dad. However, the older the boys got the more it seemed to become apparent that I needed help to care for them and do everyday activities.
Some would see this as a decline in my physical health and this does have some part in it. Yet, there is also the aspect that the house itself was creating large barriers.

About 16 months ago I had a wakeup call and I realised that, at this time, I don’t need a carer but I was living in an environment that was having a negative effect on me; that’s when I decided that I needed to move.
The difficulty in finding a property that suited my individual disability was hard and tedious; the real crucial feature was an adapted bathroom. I did need hand rails around the property and an accessible kitchen but the basic and smaller every day activities like washing and going to the toilet were my main concern.

I needed to have a bathroom that had a supported toilet, a bath for the boys and a walk in shower.

Without these I could see the idea of living independently and maintaining just basic hygiene restricted; everything else I could manage.

A walk in shower was the main point.
My dad’s house had a shower but it wasn’t a walk in and actually had a step up to it. This was a nightmare for me; wet feet, tiled floor, soap everywhere and then you had to also consider my disability. I have weakened balance, low muscle strength and twitching so you would find me, more often than not, in a ball, upside down doing some kind of yoga position within the enclosed cubical.

Finding, therefore, a wet room with a resistant nonslip flooring, a shower with handles on either side to hold onto if I twitch, a shower head on a moveable pole to help washing with ease, a shower console with good grip controls to help with muscle strength and importantly a drainage system that removes a higher percentage of water, at a quicker rate than a cubicle would, would be a difficult task.
To be honest, at dads, I would only have one shower a week and the rest of the time I would wash myself from a sink as it was the only safe and independent way to keep clean.

The move has been great; the boys have seen a greater independence on my part but also a safer and secure environment. They have also seen that I can take care of myself and it has actually allowed us to improve our daily home educating lifestyle.
My everyday struggles will obviously continue but in many ways having the move and finally have independence from adult support showed the boys that I can live a life without restrictions of a disability.

They see me more energised and ready for each day because I am ultimately safer in the environment.
This also shows the presence of reinforced understanding that is breaking barriers of what society is showing them.

The idea for me to be reliant on someone else was humiliating and depressing but the subsequent move has seen a revitalising response to all of our lives. I suppose I hadn’t really noticed how much I was restricted or how much that an adapted bathroom and wet would impact our lives.
It really shows how these adaptions can influence people’s lives, of any age and ability, in a positive way.

(This was a collaborative post. My opinions are my own and I am under no obligations to give a positive review. Please see my full disclosure at the bottom of my blog)

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