If you have a disability and use a wheelchair, your life is probably not the easiest. if you’re like me, every single day can present a new challenge or a new adventure. Sometimes, the world can just seem like it’s coming after you. You feel like no matter what you try to do to make your situation better, you just feel stuck. This feeling may come from living with a disability or from the overwhelming sense that you just have too much going on in your life right now.
I do my best to simplify my life when living with a disability, so here are a few tips. What do I mean by simplify my life? This can mean a couple different things. I read a book about the founder of Apple, Tim Cook. He stated that he tries to keep his life and his personal possessions to a minimum. I completely agree with this. I am a huge fan of analyzing needs versus wants. Simplifying your life can have a massive impact on how you live, both physically and mentally.
I try my best to simplify my friends, keeping I only keep good people around that help me better myself. As I’ve gotten older, I realize I don’t have time or patience to deal with people who will not make me a better person. If I can count on five friends, I have it pretty good. It’s not a bad thing to have a big social circle and you shouldn’t isolate yourself. Think about the friends you have and how many of them would drive an hour to come help you at 2 o’clock in the morning if you got stuck in your power wheelchair. To me, that’s a true friend and if you can count on that, I’d say you’ve got it pretty good.
I try to simplify my morning routine. I’m a big fan of repetition. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is transfer into my power wheelchair. Next, I turn on my tea kettle and brush my teeth. From there, I either throw a shirt on or take a very short shower. Speaking of shirts, I wear the same-style shirt in different colors and just coordinate a color with a pair of board shorts. This makes picking out clothes easier in the morning, which simplifies my life and allows me to focus on bigger things.
I try not to have too many possessions. If you use a motorized wheelchair like me, less stuff in the room means you have plenty of space to navigate. This comes back to the needs versus wants. For example, I have a Pride Lift Chair in my room that I transfer to when I watch television. I consider this lift chair a necessity because it allows me to get out of my motorized wheelchair and helps me with blood flow and circulation. The lift chair must be in my room but it stays in the corner by my television, so it’s out of the way of my power wheelchair.
Keep Items in Reach
I have two end tables where I keep my phone, the remote for the television, a box of tissues, Lysol spray and a glass of water in case I get thirsty at night. I tried to keep clutter on surfaces to a minimum. This helps me throughout the day when I need to locate something and grab it quickly while sitting in my lift chair.
Invest in a Universal Remote
A few years back, I purchased a universal controller that controls my lights, my fan and the air conditioning in my room. It was expensive but it has saved me multiple times after I had transferred and forgot to turn something on or off. I believe they have options now for your cell phone as well. You should look into purchasing something like this if your appliances and accessories are compatible for remote access. Trust me. It helps simplify your life.
Overall, the best advice that I can give is to try and keep your possessions to a bare minimum. Really think hard before you buy something and consider whether is it a need or a want. Think about whether the item you are purchasing could make your life more difficult with your disability.
About Josh McDermott: Josh is a brand ambassador for Quantum Rehab®. He is a public speaker and has served as a goodwill ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Josh lives in New York and loves to travel. Click here to learn more about Josh.
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