The majority expect to live long and healthy or think their bodies are tough until one is faced with a life challenge - a disabling illness or injury. It will be a tough road ahead but yes, there is a beautiful life after it.
First and foremost, there should be acceptance of the new reality. Without doing so - it would be a bit difficult to plan and see through things clearly around life and living the new reality, the limitations and the stuff you need to focus on, what tools you are going to need along the way. Acknowledging and seeing what you can and can’t do will help you in getting the new life reality on track.
Living Well After Disability
Knowledge is power, so the famous quote says, and in this big life change and decision making it is very essential to know your personal limitations, where you can get support and assistance, and the benefits or resources that are available for you in your own home, work, community, etc. There are so many supporters out there assisting and helping in making the lives of the physically challenged better and still beautiful. Hundreds if not thousands of companies are currently providing the technology and tools without compromising safety and comfort and they are still growing! Yes, acquiring them may need you to relearn a couple of skills and require you to learn new ones but overall, it will empower you and make your living well after disability.
One of the most common challenges is moving around the home or office, especially on multi-levelled floors. Lifts are created for this one. There are a couple of them around but here are a few:
Stairlift - this kind of lift can be installed in both straight and curved staircases. It has been created to adapt to most physical challenges. It’s foldable, has adjustable arms, removable link bars, a control pod, and seat safety installed safety belts, and nice upholstery. This kind of lift is fit for one person only and is usually used indoors. Also known as Stair Chair Lift.
Home Lifts are designed adaptable to almost every environment. Can be used in both indoor or outdoor, in your residence or condominium, it could also be installed in a church, a temple, mosque, schools, malls, shophouses, train stations, commercial buildings, and wherever vertical movement is needed. Usually can carry up to 500kg capacity with a travel height of up to 15m. It’s easy to install and no machine-room required, high energy efficient, and consumes low power.
Inclined Platform Lifts - if you’re a business owner who has physically challenged employees or are open to hiring them in the present or near future, this lift is designed for. It is like the stairlift but has a longer rail system for longer distances to cover. This is best used in most public places like parks, malls, and hospitals. The system is similar to a household stairway lift, with the difference being a longer rail system for greater distances. This system ensures that the physically challenged do not have problems moving around public places.
Vehicle Wheelchair Lifts - created and designed for installation on private cars (MPVs), commercial vehicles like buses & coaches, high roof vans, ambulance and rescue vehicles. Some physically challenged individuals adapting to their change would often choose to still go about with their everyday routine but with the tools and technologies available. This type of lift can be installed to fit in the rear or the side of the car with flexibility on folding - in manual or automatic. Fit to be used for passengers or the drivers. There’s also a type available for cars and vans.
Aside from mobility around the home or office, comfort is also essential. Physical challenges may vary per person but having these handicap acessible bathroom systems installed will already allow them to live independently.
Adjustable washbasin - this basin is designed to be usable for both the seated and the standing users and can use the washbasin from several sides. It adapts to the user by manoeuvring it up or down to fit the height.
Accessible shower changing bed - this is electric powered and can be folded if not in use. The bearing is mounted on a wall bracket and adjustable in height.
By installing a simple axle-based system within the bathroom, it will already allow easy access to common bathroom fixtures. The placements of the objects around the bathroom from the user can be manipulated easily, reducing the risk of common bathroom accidents.
If you don’t have an extra hand or a person at home taking care of you, then another necessity is to adapt the kitchen to your current reality. The good thing is there are readily available handicap accessible kitchen cabinets that enable the user to make full use of the kitchen working area despite being physically challenged. These wheelchair-friendly kitchen systems allow the users to be able to store and reach items on the kitchen cabinets and adjust the table tops based on their desired level that help make working in the kitchen much easier than before, with little or no assistance at all.
There are a few types of these too:
Diagonal - perfect fit for physically challenged individuals on wheelchairs and the elderly. The cabinet runs diagonally down and forwards adjustable electrically using a small control switch.
VertiElectrical - also perfect for individuals on wheelchairs or the elderly. Controlled by a switch that is usually placed in the front of the countertop, this system makes the upper wall kitchen cabinets height-adjustable vertically up and down.
FlexiElectric - is an electronic kitchen setup that is wall-mounted and can be height adjusted vertically up and down. This setup also offers the option to provide foot support if wall-bearing isn’t applicable in your home.
Adjusting to a life well after disability could be a really difficult transition but having these technologies and tools could definitely make life comfortable, livable, and empowering.
Images by ARIAN - Home Lift Supplier in Singapore and Malaysia