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A Day In The Life Of An Individual With Disabilities

Aug 20, 2008
It is a safe assumption that able bodied people take their ability to function in the world for granted. Whether it is old age, a condition from birth or the result of a debilitating disease or accident, one of the hardest and most frustrating traits of any disability is the loss of independence. This can vary in severity depending on the nature of the disability with some requiring more assistance than others.

In the last two decades there has been a major shift in legislation, mainly due to changes in European directives, safeguarding the equal opportunities and right of independence of disabled citizens. This includes equal opportunities in the work place, NHS home-help and funding for equipment such as a mobility scooter.

Eight months ago I went from being able bodied to being disabled very suddenly. Thankfully it was only a temporary condition where I had sustained a complete rupture of my anterior cruciate ligament. The subsequent operation left me unable to walk and I relied on the use of crutches and eventually mobility scooter.

Everything in my life changed from then. I could no longer dress or cook for myself, I could no longer attend work or get around without a mobility scooter. I stress that my condition was temporary and I still had the use of one leg and both arms, so I had no comprehension of a permanent disability but going from being able bodied to travelling on a mobility scooter in a week gave me a valuable perspective.

As my situation was not permanent my living situation could not be reassessed, so the first real area of difficulty was getting up to the fourth floor of the apartment building. The next was carrying anything from shopping to laundry was an impossibility. I had borrowed a mobility scooter from a relative however I had no secure parking for it and no mobility scooter insurance. It meant I had to hire a cab and tip the driver to help me with shopping.

When inside cooking anything was a real struggle as my kitchen was not designed for someone on crutches or in a wheelchair. Keeping one eye on the mobility scooter out of the window I would have to negotiate around the cramped kitchen on crutches, whilst trying to hold plates, cutting boards and pans, it did not work. Luckily I had a partner who moved in with me during my rehabilitation which effectively saved me.

I was completely dependent on her for many basic daily necessities and that felt strange. For people with permanent disabilities this is a constant thing. To hold onto as much independence as possible it is essential that they have equipment such as a mobility scooter so that they can function without someone else. After a short amount of research it is evident that the market is saturated with products such as mobility scooter.

It is not just mobility that is an issue. Bathing, cooking, changing, laundry, home health, cleaning the list is literally endless. My experience has left me with a massive respect for individuals that cope with permanent disabilities whilst regaining any level of independence, this comes from having the funding for equipment such as a mobility scooter, stair lift and wheelchair to name a few.
About the Author
Shaun Parker is no longer on a mobility scooter and has a lasting gratitude for his own mobility.
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