Independence – 2/20/19

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Scooterjon says – what’s your definition of independence? I asked myself that question about four days ago when my Doris wanted to go somewhere. I came up with this. In my opinion there are three parts to independence. 1. the ability to do something you want to do 2. ability to do that something when you want to do it 3. is the ability to afford that something you want to do.

I lost alot of confidence when I lost the functions below my waist in 2011. I think I also lost independence as well! There are so many things I want and wanted to do before I leave this rodeo (die) that were screwed up because of Multiple Sclerosis. Maybe I’m turning into a sissy making excuses but usually one of my symptoms ruins something I want to do. If it’s not my legs, balance, bowels, anxiety or my fatigue it’s some other MS symptom that will stop me like heat, pressure points, etc. !

Multiple Sclerosis has so many different symptoms which can help lead to a loss of independence. Nowadays, when I have to go outside my Doris has to dress me. I can still do my shirts and jackets but Doris helps with undies, sweatpants, socks and shoes. If I needed to I can dress my lower half but it takes forever. Balance is needed to accomplish dressing. To go anywhere you don’t want to have to think about the location of every toilet. I could have had a part-time job at my local Costco handing out free samples of food if not for my bowel problems and not being able to stand up. More independence was lost.

The Independent Living Institute asked people the same question about independence. Here’s what they said:

1. Jill Weiss said it is the ability to live independently and productively in the community and to live with the same freedom of choice as a non-disabled person. So it’s not that you are living on your own but that you control where you live and have the same range of choices as a non-disabled person.

2. Michael Huck responded with independent living means the ability to examine alternatives and make informed decisions and direct one’s own life. This ability requires the availability of information, financial resources and peer group support systems. Independent living is a dynamic process and it can never be static. A person’s physical, emotional and social environment and subsequent needs are continually changing and evolving.

3. The struggle for Independent Living and personal determination is something each disabled person must approach in their own way. However, as disabled persons we have common problems and concerns and we must continue to work together to eliminate artificial barriers to our full and equal participation in society.

4. Elizabeth Semkiw said independent living really is an idea, a concept, a thought process. You apply this thought process to your lifestyle. I would think that even if a person were in prison and the only choice that they could make would be whether they would eat their food when they first got it or eat it an hour later, they would still be practicing Independent Living.

5. I feel Independent Living is living independently without the dependency created by an institution says Doreen Demas.