Monday, 24 December 2018

Adjusting To Life in a Wheelchair

If you have a friend or loved one who has become a wheelchair user, either permanently or for a short time, you will have seen how difficult the transition from legs to wheels can be. The physical limitations surface immediately and continue to arise during the initial stages of getting used to the wheelchair. Besides the physical issues, depression at the loss of the use of one’s legs is another major area of concern. Once the initial problems are overcome, the depression will decrease, and life can once again be active and fulfilling. The key is to find solutions to the problems that the user faces.

Image Courtesy: Pexels

Problems and Solutions
  • Invest in a good wheelchair. Not all of them are the same and a comfortable one that fits the user well will make a big difference. Ensuring that the chair has the customizations that the user needs will increase the comfort levels and make getting used to life in it much easier.
  • Make modifications to the home. Removing carpets and rugs and rearranging furniture to enable free movement in the house is essential. Climbing stairs is out of the questions so if the house is on more than one level, the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and other areas of daily use must be relocated to the ground floor. These rooms must be modified to make them wheelchair friendly. There are online resources that will offer advice on what needs to be done and provide information on contractors that can make the required changes. Being comfortable and independent at home will be a big confidence booster.
  • Even though the house has been modified, do not allow the user to remain housebound. In the initial stages, users often feel self-conscious about being in the chair and also think that they are a burden to others who may have to help them in some activities. Getting out of the home may meet with some resistance, but the user must be encouraged to leave the house and return to the world that is outside. In most cases, regaining of interest in going out and participating in the wide range of activities that a wheelchair user can undertake happens in a surprisingly short time.
  • One of the most difficult aspects of going out can be transportation. While specially equipped vehicles for wheelchair users are available, not all of them will be able to drive and there are some places where driving may not be practical. Depending on friends for transport will only increase the feelings of loss of independence. This is where Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) plays a major role. NEMT is not an ambulance service. It offers specially equipped vehicles for wheelchair users and can be used for any road travel requirement. This includes, but is not limited to, such things as social visits, going to cultural events, shopping, traveling for medical checkups and so on. The best NEMT services have trained drivers who understand the needs of wheelchair users and can provide them with any assistance they may need. With doorstep pickup and standby services, NEMT will enable the wheelchair user to once again regain the mobility and freedom that is such an essential part of enjoying life.