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Tips and Tricks for Independent Living as a Disabled Person

Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Posts: 5,900Administrator Scope community team
edited September 11 in Guest blogs

Living independently can be a real challenge for disabled people. Whether you are moving away from home or going off to university, looking after yourself can bring about a whole host of hurdles that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to predict.

My name is Ruby, I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and I am a student at Exeter University. I run a blog where I share my experiences of chronic illness and a project called Chronically Cute Cards where I send out free, handmade, personalised cards to chronically ill people.

I’ve been living with students for the last few years but have recently just moved into a house with my sister. This has meant I have been spending a lot more time by myself and have had to adapt. I wanted to share a few little tips and tricks that I have found to make life slightly easier when living independently as a disabled person.


The perks of a bum bag

Purchasing a bum bag to carry all the things I may need throughout the day has meant less trips up and down stairs and ensures I never get caught without the essentials if I get stuck on the sofa! Having your medication, phone, glasses and phone charger on hand can also be really helpful in case of a fall or emergency.

Kitchen gadgets

The kitchen can be one of the toughest rooms when it comes to independence as a disabled person due to the countless hazards. Kitchen aids can be a great way to ease your concerns. Choppers, Nutri Bullets, kettle tippers and cutlery grips make cooking safer and easier especially if you have dexterity issues or painful hands.


Smart technology

One thing that I have found incredibly useful, but can occasionally be a bit pricey, is the Phillips Hue lightbulbs or smart lights. Being able to control the lights in your home via your phone saves you having to get up and down to turn lights off and on. You can also control the brightness which helps if you suffer from migraines as you can dim the lights. 

Snuggles with a dog!

A huge bonus for moving in with my sister is her dog Murphy! Having a pet is obviously not an option for everyone, but it really helps with my anxiety when I am home alone, and he keeps me company on the days where I am stuck in bed.


Food straight to the door

One tip that I cannot stress enough is online food shopping. Food shopping is an exhausting activity, doing it online saves so much energy and the people that deliver your order are usually super helpful and will often help you unpack if you ask.

My version of independence

Finally, I think the most important tip for me has been to create my own definition of independence. When I first started thinking about becoming more independent, I was terrified that this meant I would no longer be able to have help with anything. Now I have realised that there are certain things I can do that serve my independence all whilst still asking and accepting help in other aspects of living. Define your own independence, it looks different for everyone!

These are a few of the things that have helped me to feel confident being independent in my home and I really hope that you can draw some inspiration from these ideas and that they will help you.

What do you find helps you around the house? Are there any little hacks that make living independently easier? I would love for you to share your tips and tricks!

Chloe
Online Community Officer

Replies

  • zakbloodzakblood Posts: 419Member Pioneering
    good luck with the University, hope all goes well and thanks for sharing and welcome to the forum
  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,403Member - under moderation Disability Gamechanger
    I keep a list of phone numbers on my phone. I love me time especially in the shower or at work. I recently hired a cleaner to come work for me.
    She is the same person who worked for my mother for a decade. I delegate tasks. Ironing I do myself. 
  • AilsAils Posts: 1,217Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Welcome to the Community, Ruby.  A great guest blog with really good tips for independent living.  Your blog looks great too and I love your Chronically Cute Cards, a marvellous idea!  Thanks for sharing all of this with us.  I don't have much to add to the tips already given here, but one thing I couldn't live without when I am home alone is my grabber if I drop anything; which I do a lot!  Also on days of bad pain and when stuck in bed I have found it helpful to fill a flask of tea/coffee and make myself a packed lunch to take to bed with me and tide me over until my husband comes in.   :)
  • newbornnewborn Posts: 328Member Pioneering
    They even have grabbers in poundland. Bit flimsy,  as to be expected though
  • paffuto10paffuto10 Posts: 388Member Pioneering
    We have stairs (hoping to move to a flat or bungalow). 

    Things that need to be taken upstairs we collect during the day, on a table at foot of stairs. At bedtime everything gets taken up together. And vice versa things needing to go down. 
  • DocDoc Posts: 1Member Connected
     I have many 'essentials', besides the obvious things like crutch and wheelchair (without which I can't go out), the one I use the most often is the dishwasher.
     I can't stand for long, and my knee don't bend fully so can't sit close enough to sink to wash up, so I have a countertop dishwasher (no bending!). I not only wash dishes in it, but also toothbrush, shower caddys, trays, pegs (in colander), ceramic plant pots, etc. It's also great for washing small pet houses, toys, climbing ropes, etc. This means I can use my limited energy on other activities.
  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,403Member - under moderation Disability Gamechanger
    Some more useful tips: 

    1- When reading medical or therapy assessment reports, try to remain calm and objective. Remember that the report cannot predict the future. Put it in a folder and don’t become mad at your child either (this is one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received).
    Cry or feel sad, then move on with your life. Delayed does not mean never going to happen. Same applies to form filling too. If it makes you feel better, scream into a pillow quietly as your loved one sleeps. I have a file of assessment reports tucked under my bed. The old inaccurate reports don’t scare me now. 
    2- Take pictures of your child. I have a box crammed with baby photos of Logan and his twin sister in a drawer in my bedroom. Advocate for your child too. 
    3- Celebrate every inchstone. Every time my son achieved something I made a note of it. And we also go out to celebrate a big milestone at a restaurant or at our local ice cream shop. Look past the delays. Get to know your child properly. 


  • DavidtrotterDavidtrotter Posts: 2Member Listener
    Hi Ruby, All of your comments seem extremely sensible and useful and so are your readers comments. I would like to add a product that many individuals are finding extremely useful, without sounding too commercial. The muggi tray that I originally invented for a sailing friend of mine on his boat, is helping with independence around the home or office whether disabled or not. I hope some one finds this comment useful. www.muggi.co.uk
    Kind regards and good luck with your studies. 🙏
  • redchicken43redchicken43 Posts: 48Member Pioneering
    Great that you have taken life’s challenges face on that you have learnt to adapt. Well done and great advice.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Posts: 5,900Administrator Scope community team
    Thank you everyone for contributing to this informative blog post! I've loved reading your tips and thanks for sharing these with the community. :) 
    Chloe
    Online Community Officer
  • QueenieQueenie Posts: 2Member Listener
    Thanks for this, very helpful.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Posts: 5,900Administrator Scope community team
    I'm glad this could help @Queenie and welcome to the community! Is there anything we can help you with today?
    Chloe
    Online Community Officer
  • AndMacAndMac Posts: 27Member Pioneering
    Something that I find very useful is a slimline walking stick, that I use as a dressing aid.
    It helps me when pulling off trousers,  and to hold waistbands open, so that I can get them on more easily. It’s a small thing, but it saves a lot of struggles.
    A plastic screw-in broom handle would perform just as well, if you don’t have a walking stick to hand. 
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Posts: 5,900Administrator Scope community team
    Such a great idea @AndMac! Thank you for sharing this with us!
    Chloe
    Online Community Officer
  • MeleenMeleen Posts: 2Member Listener
    Buy a chip basket and place in your saucepan. Put your potatoes/veg etc into basket and cook. When finished lift basket out, your food is drained with no need to lift a saucepan of hot water.
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Posts: 4,540Administrator Scope community team
    Really like that tip @Meleen. Thank you! :smile:
    Senior Online Community Officer
    Scope
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Posts: 5,900Administrator Scope community team
    A great tip @Meleen, thank you and welcome to the community! :)
    Chloe
    Online Community Officer
  • paffuto10paffuto10 Posts: 388Member Pioneering
     @Meleen

    Great tip about the chip basket in the saucepan. 
    Will tell my adult daughter who has wrist pain. 
    Thank-you  :)
  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,403Member - under moderation Disability Gamechanger
    If your baby has cold feet, you can buy leg warmers to use at night https://www.theclubfootstore.com/blogs/news/best-items-during-casting-clubfoot-baby from this company. 

    They worked for my son.
    Also I stuck pictures of his feet into my custom made baby book. I also made notes on their general development, eating habits, appearance and behavior as well. 
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