Get off Your Butt

Studies are being cranked out regularly on how prolonged sitting can significantly shorten life spans of the sedentary. They have real meaning for us who are mobility challenged. Unfortunately, I spend most of my day on a mobility scooter or in a chair. So, what should I do about it? It is really common problem that affects many of us who are disabled, but it is not an excuse for just giving up. I have been blessed with relatively good upper body strength, probably from moving around a rather sedate lower body. Up until about six years ago I was going to the gym three times a week, but as my Multiple Sclerosis took a stronger and stronger hold of my lower body I sort of drifted back into little or no conscious exercise. I paid [...]

Scooter Transportation: A Chicken or Egg” Problem?

When my wife and I decided we had to do something to make transporting my mobility scooter easier, we quickly encountered a chicken-or-egg type of problem. At the time, she was driving a Ford Focus. Though the scooter easily breaks down into four pieces that fit neatly into the trunk (but with no room for anything else), lifting each piece over the wall of the trunk to get it in became an issue. If we went shopping and made four or five stops that meant my wife was having put the strain own her back muscles 8-10 times a trip. Besides this impact on her, the trips became less enjoyable as I didn't want her to have to unload and load the scooter so many times. I often opted to sit in the car rather than put her through the hassle. We [...]

My Poor Knees

As a member of the Atlanta Track Club Women’s competitive team and a teacher who lifts and aids students with disabilities, I have more than my share of wear and tear on my joints and muscles. I just recently experienced a setback with a diagnosis of Runner’s Knee and arthritis in both knees. I am beginning to realize that just like brakes in a car, your joints also have a shelf life! Taking care of your body and mind should be a priority throughout the year. There are proven practices that will help your body from wearing out! I caught some good advice from some individuals who are very knowledgeable in this area! I went to an Atlanta Track Club member’s New Year’s Day party and gravitated towards the Masters Runners who are [...]

Guns & Roses: How Firearm Control Affects the Disabled

There's no doubt in my mind that Congress is going to get into a shootout over gun control in the coming weeks and months. As is all too common, the disabled probably won’t have much of a voice even though firearm legislation affects them more than most. The reality is that the disabled are especially vulnerable to violence, gun-related or otherwise. On the other hand, they also stand more to gain from the protection of a personal weapon like a firearm. The controversy on Capitol Hill hasn't prompted me to rush to the nearest gun store so I can start packing heat, however. I remember target practice with a .45 caliber automatic pistol when I was younger. It packed quite a punch! At this age, seated on a mobility scooter, I doubt [...]

Happy 131st Birthday FDR!

How does a great leader approach a serious mobility issue? To find out, I took a look at one of the most famous disabled of all time: Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR contracted polio the same year I was born. Until my research, I never realized his circumstances shared many similarities with my own. Of course, I most likely will never be presidential material and I wasn't fully diagnosed with multiple sclerosis until I was 73. FDR, on the other hand, was paralyzed at 39 while campaigning for the office.  But the actual details, many evident in the new movie Hyde Park on the Hudson, were largely unpublicized. FDR was paralyzed from the waist down. Though I am not paralyzed myself, we both have the similar bowel and urinary issues, [...]

How to Self-Fund Your Mobility Independence

Mobility issues in 2013 may take some dramatic turns as future needs and declining federal monies collide with baby boomers’ increasing frailty and the obesity epidemic. The demands for broader insurance coverage, changing technology and inordinate spending for institutionalized care may make self-funding solutions a more and more necessary option. Government safety nets work for now, but we may not always be able to rely on them. It never hurts to have a backup plan. I have spent a lot of time price-shopping for mobility scooters and honestly it is not as bad as you might have been led to think to aid your own mobility when it becomes evident your independence is being challenged. You can start by setting aside a $5 bill once [...]

Getting the Most of Disabled Helping Disabled

So, you are riding a mobility scooter and life seems pretty good even, though you do face a few limitations that sometimes make you feel like a second class citizen. You are at peace with your life, why stir up the pot with a trip to an Independent Living Center? The basic idea behind the independent living concept is that the disabled, regardless of the manner, have a similar background and a shared struggle that can be abetted by banding together, at least on some issues. The idea that disabled people are the best experts in dealing with their own needs is a valuable concept. I recently saw a report on an ILC in the southwest that helped a gentleman who lost his voice due to cancer. It wasn't too difficult to find an augmentative [...]

Independent Living Centers

It’s been over a half century, but I remember when... Each individual living with a disability faced his or her own challenges largely on their own. They had unique problems and it was difficult to know where to turn for assistance or even advice. Independent Living Centers were created specifically to handle that issue. They exist in every state. If you have never visited one, you should consider it, especially if you have a disability. You may find the help you need in dealing with all sorts of issues. Whether the one closest to you is an ILC or a CIL (Center for Independent Living), you will find they are community based, cross-disability oriented and non-profit and they are operated by people who have their own disabilities. [...]

Enough with Excessive ADA Regulations!

My disability has caused me to be troubled by unequal access in public buildings and streets. For years I have been a champion of the Americans with Disabilities Act which I truly felt was bringing equalization to the table. With that said, there are some times I think my personal access needs to take the back seat to practicality. For instance, in areas of pure recreation the ADA is running amuck. I used to always enjoy a round of miniature golf, especially on courses that featured a rough, hilly terrain. As long as I was walking handily, I was able to get along with the typically narrow pathways. Now, the ADA wants all mini golf courses to be flatter and handicap-accessible. The 2010 ADA standards for Accessible Design require that [...]

When Working Out is an Exercise in Patience

Getting around in the winter is a little more challenging than during the rest of the year, and I am beginning to learn what this means for the mobility challenged. I recently joined the ranks of "gym rats" in hopes of getting more exercise. Besides losing weight and building strength, my real desire is to increase my flexibility and getting some movement into my all-but-petrified legs. I have a gym located exactly one mile from my condo. It is a mile I can travel safely on my mobility scooter and because my three-wheel Pride Go-Go Elite can adroitly get in and around fitness equipment for easy transfer from my mobility scooter. But now I am finding the real trick is keeping myself warm for the one mile trip. I need to negotiate [...]