Saturday, January 15, 2011
Having the coffee set up
I'll bet a lot of people don't think much about getting themselves a cup of coffee in the morning. I didn't either until I acquired my spinal cord injury
At that point I learned that planning was key to having independence. If someone sets up what I need I can make a cup of coffee, for example. If I have a certain kind of coffee maker and that assistance, I can do what others do.
I hear and read stories all the time about what a tragedy disability is. That's just not true in my experience. What is tragic is how we still leave folks without what they need to be as independent as possible. Being dependent for things you can do for yourself with planning is limiting and robs people of self esteem. It can also cause more work for caregivers. Its a lose lose situation. I believe that it stems from an attitude that disability is inevitably a sad, tragic and life ending event. That's a ridiculous approach.
Yet every time I train new aides I'm reminded how few people understand how much a disabled person can do with planning.
When I first bring a new aide in, he or she needs to learn the way I do things and, more specifically, how things need to be set up so I can manage to be independent in their absence. At first people move things around, not realizing that leaving a reacher out of reach causes havoc or not setting food up so I can get at it leaves me hungry. They take out a folding chair and leave it in the middle of my kitchen, not realizing that my wheelchair won't roll around it. The list is endless but the bottom line is that once they catch on, they get used to how things need to be done amd it ones as natural to them as the way they set up things in their own home. We all have preferences as to where we keep things. It really isn't any different.
But in order to get to a place of cooperation, everyone needs to be on the same page. Well meaning friends and relatives who place things out of reach assuming we can't do things or patronizingly refuse to set it up the way we need it or keep it that way are more of a disability than our disabilities are.
Need to go drink my coffee now. Always tastes better when I get it myself
Posted by Ruth