A Special Holiday for Everyone!

The holiday season is a time for reflection and showing thankfulness and generosity. As my daughter anxiously waits for the prolific Christmas morning, I remind her that the holidays are truly more about giving than receiving. That philosophy is a little difficult for a five year old to wrap her mind around, but we adults know that is for certain.  If you have a disability or care for a person with a disability, you know that medical bills and purchasing healthcare and mobility supplies often take up the entire budget and then some. Whether you are interested in giving or need assistance, there are some resources out there for you and your loved ones. The Salvation Army has been our country’s charitable staple since 1885! I encourage [...]

Inactivity Pandemic

Extended periods of limited mobility from mobility aids can be as serious for boomers as taking a fall is for the elderly. Couple that with an unchanged food plan and you have the makings of a real problem. The human body was designed to be at its peak when it is mobile, but over the years we all tend to move less and less. Such a sedentary lifestyle can lead to heart disease and diabetes. I have also learned that constantly remaining in a seated position leads to pressure sores right where you do your sitting. These can actually become quite serious if left untreated. These issues have been around for decades. However, insurance, Medicare and other health care plans rarely cover the illnesses that arise from a lack of exercise. [...]

Don’t Let Holiday Dinners Put You in a Heavy-Duty Scooter

As the holidays approach, I feel the need to give everyone a friendly warning. Two of the biggest feast days of the year, back-to-back in the space of little more than a month, are hurtling toward us. Gaining weight during the holiday season is a national pastime. Year after year, most of us pack on at least a pound (sometimes much more) during the holidays. Worse, we tend to keep it permanently. Before you're forced onto a heavy-duty mobility aid, don't let the holidays sabotage your weight. You can satisfy your desire for traditional favorites and still enjoy celebrating guilt-free. After all, being stuffed is only a good idea if you are a turkey! Get Active Create a calorie deficit by exercising to burn off extra calories before [...]

The Blueprints for a Handicap-Friendly World

I noticed an article in the press the other day about the first handicapped designed home (designed by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright) being listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The 1949 Kenneth and Phyllis Laurent House was designed by the famed designer. Mr. Laurent was a World War II veteran who used a wheelchair. The Laurent House was the only structure Wright specifically designed for an individual with a disability. Of more than 1,000 designs, Wright considered the home to be one of the 35 most important works of his career. The Laurent family lived in the home for 60 years. The Laurent House Foundation acquired the house and FLW furnishings in February 2012. The article got me to thinking, what if more designers [...]

Adaptive Cooking

Thanksgiving is a time to appreciate the important things in life, like food and family! I fondly remember enjoying big Thanksgiving lunches as a child with my extended family on the farm. Thanksgiving traditions tend to evolve throughout the years, but I do miss those days as a child with no worries but an overfull belly. I do not consider myself a cook, but I know that cooking can be both therapeutic and offer a feeling of accomplishment when you relish in that first taste of your creation. Cooking can become difficult as we age and lose motor function. Thank goodness there are products out there that can keep the cooking alive! Disabled Hands is a great resource that directs you to manufacturers of adaptive cookware and utensils. Check [...]

Judged

So you've been judged inadequate. So what? Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you. - Matthew 7:1-2. I'm fortunate enough to be surrounded by a group of loving friends and I'd never expect an untoward reaction to my mobility challenge or my method of dealing with a sharply increasing walking disability. At times I find myself on my own in a public setting and I get the occasional stare or attempt to help me. I am aware that my initial reactions were really an expression of pride (strange, that's the brand of my scooter) and I realize the error is in my reaction. Instead, I tend to accept the offer of help or ignore the stares. [...]

Winter Mobility

With winter breathing down our necks, new hazards are approaching. You never know when a storm like Hurricane Sandy might come knocking on your door so it's best to always be prepared for inclement weather. Even if the season is light on snow, there are other challenges we all must face; even if it is just heavy rain. This is particularly true for mobility scooter users. I know a good number of you don't intend to sit there housebound. You have places to go and things to do. On top of your normal life, there are holiday shopping and winter events to keep you out and about. Here are a few tips to help you operate your mobility scooter in these less-than-desirable conditions. Make Yourself Seen A major hazard in winter is low visibility. [...]

Shame on Us

Disability hate crime, which can occur in many forms, is a blight on the public image of entire countries. It constitutes a violation of a disabled person's human rights and dignity. A scan of headlines out of the UK is enough to scare anyone in a wheelchair or disability scooter. Such activity does not seem rampant here in the States, but in the UK it seems to make headlines on a daily basis. According to a report from the British Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), disabled people in the UK face harassment, insult and attack almost as a matter of routine. A "collective denial" among police, government and other public bodies means little is done to challenge the situation, the government's human rights watchdog has concluded [...]

The Paralympics: Inspiring and Underappreciated

With the exception of a few local medal success stories in US media, you’d think to the 2012 Paralympic Games in London was just a British event. The coverage and participation make this one of the biggest U.S. television oversights of the decade. I mean, 4,200 applicants representing 165 countries with a 2.5 million sellout crowd of onlookers. Where do you find those kinds of numbers in American sports? I don't think you can call it prejudice, but it ranks up there pretty high on the intolerance scale. The idea that British television could devote 400 hours of coverage while the US stalwart NBC chalked up 4 hours is disappointing, to say the least. The U.S. fielded a 227-member team for the London games, comprised of 133 men [...]

Works of Art!

Sometimes it is difficult for me to go to sleep even after a long, arduous day. In the evenings I depend on books to suppress my racing thoughts, just so I can sleep!  Art is a mode of expression that stimulates our brains and distracts us from our daily lives. The actual process of written expression can release stress and help our minds let go of things that we cannot control. A Different Light, http://adifferentlight.wordpress.com/, is one of my favorite discoveries online that uses writing in this exact form. A Different Light is a meaningful outlet and resource for individuals with disabilities. Ruth Harrigan is the mastermind and creator of this blog that accumulates her written works of poems, short stories, and essays about disability. [...]