How to Be Independent As a Wheelchair User
Here’s a question that’s on the forefront of the mind of every wheelchair users. The fact that caregivers, families, and friends may not always be there is quite troubling. Most times, you also crave the freedom to decide where to go without any assistance. If you feel this way, then congrats on achieving the first step towards self-reliance as a wheelchair. To help you achieve independence as a wheelchair user, here are a few great methods we’ve tried and tested. Hold on! Before we proceed on this, let’s take a brief look at why you need this independence.
Despite the massive strides we’ve made in technology, using a wheelchair still comes with quite a lot of restrictions. Irrespective of these restrictions, almost everyone desire independence in order to get around easily, pursue a new interest or even travel on a vacation. Most importantly, resting and sleeping without difficulty. Well, all these activities and so much more are possible via the following tips!
Start with a Wheelchair Skill Class!
“How can I hold objects while moving my wheelchair?” are one of the common dilemmas that wheelchair users face. By attending a wheelchair skill class, you can solve this dilemma and many others. These classes do not only help to boost your independence, but it also enables you to connect with people who are facing similar situations. So, ask your physical therapist or doctor to recommend a wheelchair class for you. More so, you can also check online wheelchair courses to help you kick start the process of independence.
Change Your Perception
If you think being on a wheelchair restricts you from doing the things you desire, then think again! You can do just as much as one who isn’t in a wheelchair. From skydiving to cooking your favorite meal to even golf, there’s no limit to the activities you can partake in. Performing these “capable” activities will boost your mood and confidence. More so, it will stop friends and families from seeing you as less capable, and this is actually the step towards achieving independence.
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Swallow Your Fears!
Here’s one fact about this point: it’s not easy swallowing your fears of being in a wheelchair. At this point, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed by anxiety and fears on how to adjust and navigate the new reality. To help you to overcome your fears, understand that there are fewer restrictions for wheelchair users, and you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Don’t forget to seek encouragement from your support system – friends, families, and even your colleagues. Also, your therapist can help you with your fears via various techniques.
Build Your Strength
It’s alright to build your mental capacity in order to change your perception and to overcome your fears. However, never neglect to build your physical strength. As a wheelchair user, there is much time when you will need to lift your chair. Hence, you need to keep fit and strengthen your upper body. Consult your therapist for exercises and diet that can help you build your strength levels. Doing this, no doubt will reduce your dependence on people to get you around.
Restructure Your Home
This is the point when you have to restructure your home to boost your freedom of movement. Start by removing objects that make it difficult to move around. First, start with the flooring to see if you can easily move on it without expending much energy. Do away with area rugs or thick carpeting. Install rails, ramps, and reduce the height of your cabinet for easy access. More so, remove obstacles such as chairs or tables that might impede your free movement. Lastly, work with your therapist or an ergonomics expert to know the modification that can help you to achieve freedom as a wheelchair user. What’s more? To get support or aid, you can speak to your insurance company or national agency.
Modify or Purchase Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles
To achieve independence as a wheelchair user, you need to have total control over your transport. Thankfully, ride-hailing services like Uber, now have wheelchair-adapted vehicles for people with disabilities. In addition to this, there are now public transport services for people with disabilities. So, enquire about the one that functions in your region. More so, you can modify your vehicle to be wheelchair accessible. Talk to your local car dealers or even your car’s manufacturer to know if they can modify your vehicle for adaptive driving
The first step towards self-reliance as a wheelchair user is most fraught with trepidation and fear. Deciding to, however, overcome those fears to live the life you want. So, take hold of these tips and always consult your families, friends, and medical personnel for encouragement and support.
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