Take Charge of Your Health

Staying healthy is an important part of having a good life.  There are times we have to see medical professionals (like Doctors, Naturopaths etc.) to make sure we stay healthy or to help us get better when we are sick.  It can be difficult to remember everything we want to tell the doctor when we are at the appointment.  It is helpful to write out how we are doing before we go so we can give it to the doctor.  You can ask someone to help you write it down or do it yourself. A tool to use is 5.2-My-Healthcare-Visit that Surrey Place has developed.  When you start to feel sick, write on paper all the different things that you are feeling.  It will help the doctor to figure out what is happening to you and get you the best care.

Take charge of the doctor’s appointment.  This is about you.  If you do not understand something ask your doctor to explain.  If you find it helpful to have a support with you, ask someone you trust to come with you.  They can write down the information you receive at the appointment so you can have it later to remember.  You can also ask your doctor to write it down for you.

Medications and taking them correctly are another important part of living independently. Here is a link to a video brochure with information about taking medications, What I need to know about taking medication.   Your doctor or pharmacist can also answer your questions. It’s always okay to ask questions and make sure you understand.  It’s all about you!

 

Working on Independence at Home

We have found that there are apps to use on your cell phone or tablet that can be helpful for organizing all the independent living tasks that need to be completed.  In the TIFS program we come across many of them through word of mouth or stumbling on something we find useful.  Today I opened an email!

Let me tell you about a website that I was given to review.

http://www.habilhome.com

This website created by the University of Quebec Trois Rivieres has taken helpful independent living apps and organized them.  They are found under 12 category headings that include topics such as budget, housekeeping, hygiene, nutrition, among others. When you click on Technologies Directory you are taken to the categories.  I downloaded a few of the apps to try and I was impressed with them.  They have far more than what I explored but here is info about just a couple.  If you have the time the website is worth visiting.

Youmiam is an app that offers simple recipes based on what foods you like and your level of expertise in cooking.  I like that the ingredients are listed with a picture of the item beside it.  The recipes I looked at had just a few ingredients and easy to follow instructions.

Shopping List 2017 has a free setting that does not come with a lot of grocery items but if you pay for the app they offer more items.  The grocery items have the name of the food and a picture symbol beside it.  You click on the ones you need to create your grocery list.  When you are grocery shopping you click on the items on your shopping list and they are moved to purchased so you can see what you have left to pick up.  Super easy to use and great to help you remember everything you need.

We are always seeking out new tools to help people develop and maintain their independence.  If you have any tools you have found that are helpful list them in the comments.  It’s a great way for everyone to learn from each other.

Key to motivation…I don’t know, do you?

There is a flaw in what I do. I cannot provide motivation in a jar…if I could I swear I would sell it for a song! I mean, let’s be honest, nothing gets done without it, so its value really is unlimited. I wrote in my first blog that ‘active involvement (in anything…like life) requires being motivated’. So what does it mean when you are not?  I have heard the phrase, they are just lazy…yup, and maybe they are. But what if they’re not, then why do some individuals choose not to be more involved, more independent, in living their lives?

What if up until now your family member, your participant, your client, has not had to initiate motivation because they have been helped, rescued, or protected to the point they are comfortable and see no need to do more when there is always someone to do it for them??

In the comfort of home, surrounded by loving family, I have witnessed participants resist being encouraged to do more for themselves…and it’s not due to lack of ability. The reality is that many participants have abilities and skills they have learned with the supports around them…but in many cases there seems to be a point where the initiative and encouragement stalls.  Frequently it appears to be around those skills related to areas such as making independent choices and navigating life beyond the home.

Fear…families, and even support workers, fear that something will happen, that a mistake will be made, tends to be the most common reasons given. In answer to this I use again the words of Susan (a parent who participated in my second blog), where in regards to her son making choices, both right and wrong, she said “(its) a part of growing up and learning… I went through it, why would it be any different for him?” I am not being dismissive when I say; all parents and care givers have fear.  I am recognising that it’s there…the question is how do you combat it so that you are not holding back the potential of an individual?

Face it, if an individual (who has the ability) is motivated to take on the challenges of life…learn to use a city bus, get a job, go to college, learn to cook, be in charge of their own money…a lot of mistakes can be made…but so can a lot of living.

I don’t pretend to have the answers…only you, the family, the support worker, THE INDIVIDUAL whom this is all for, can find the answer to their own unique situation. But please, take a minute, read my second blog or one of many articles online regarding individuals who live with a developmental disability, and the things they can and have accomplished. Because people are amazing…if they are motivated!

Tami Schaafsma ~