Several floors up, fire alarm sounds – but you have mobility problems


Picture the scene. You are several floors above ground and the fire alarm sounds. You have not been informed of either a drill or a test and, so, the instructions are: evacuation.

Just one problem, you have mobility issues. You either use a wheelchair or can on walk down the stairs with great difficulty, in pain, and very slowly.

evacuation

Laura Kolaczkowski.

I was reminded of this situation by an article headlined This is Not  Drill, Maybe written by Laura Kolaczkowski, published by MultpleSclerosis.net. Laura is very well respected within the MS community in the USA. Also, she was one of my top columnists during my time as managing editor (columns) with BioNews. Let’s let her set the scene:

A recent event in a very tall hotel left me wondering why I was so hesitant as to what to do. It happened in Nashville, at the Omni Hotel, which I was staying at for the Annual Consortium of MS Centers meeting. The day I gave a presentation at 7 AM left me tired, and I returned to my hotel room early afternoon to take a brief rest.

I had just dozed off, slipping into a much-needed nap, when the emergency fire alarm rang. At first, I thought let’s ignore the blasting noise of the siren in my room. Perhaps if I pull the pillow over my head I can pretend this isn’t happening. Alternating with the alarm noise was a pre-recorded message ordering me to leave my room immediately and to evacuate the hotel using the closest stairway and a reminder that the elevators would not be operating.

Ignore the warning?

Having worked in schools for over 25 years, I don’t underestimate the importance of fire drills, but this time I was hesitant to evacuate the building. Why would I ignore this warning? Simply put, I was going to have to navigate the stairs, and a lot of them.

My room was on the 22nd floor, and I was immediately cursing my misfortune of having returned to the hotel instead of remaining at the conference, and my even worse luck of having MS and mobility issues. As I lay on the bed listening to the alternating message of pending doom to evacuate immediately and the ear piercing siren, I could only hope it would soon stop and it would be declared a false alarm. Alas, such was not the case, and not wanting to be the headline that read Woman Perishes Because She Ignored Warnings, eventually (as in about five minutes) I did the adult thing and made my way to the stairway and began the long descent to the ground level.

About the only touch of luck in this episode was the stairway was rather narrow, with a handrail on each side that I could grasp with both hands. There were few people in the building because this was mid-day, but most of the few folks who came behind me were kind enough to slow and ask if I needed assistance. Or maybe they just slowed because I had to let go of one of the handrails so they could pass.

No smoke or stampede

Smelling no smoke and not hearing a stampede of firefighters coming up the steps to rescue us gave me confidence that this was not a true emergency. and I told these folks to go on ahead. Telling them I would be fine, but I didn’t mind if I died alone in the stairway because I had lived a full life. A few caught the wry humor, but most were busy saving themselves and just went on their own way.

I remember similar humour a considerable number of years ago. The fire alarm sounded in our office block, but instead of an orderly evacuation, staff members were just standing around looking confused. Someone volunteered the information that we were waiting for admin department to confirm whether it was a real emergency. “Meanwhile, we can all burn to death,” one senior manager commented.

Back to Laura:

I survived the alarms and the stairway but heard from my family afterward that I did the wrong thing. They swear I should have called the front desk and asked for assistance to leave the building. I tend to be a bit more independent-thinking than this and it never occurred to me that there must be evacuation plans and assistance for people with mobility issues.

Lisa and I have enjoyed a number of cruises together and their emergency drills don’t tend to cater for those of us with disabilities. However, we were assured that they have special wheelchairs designed for going downstairs. Great to know they have plans to help the evacuation of people with mobility difficulties.

evacuation

An example of an emergency evacuation wheelchair. (Pic: Stlfamilylife.)

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. I am not a doctor, so cannot and do not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely my own unless otherwise stated.

Changing “I can’t” to “I can” – determination is key

Determination is one of the best qualities to which we all can aspire. Whatever our disease, condition, or disability, we can all try to have more determination in our lives.

It is that quality that changes “I can’t” to “I can”. It is about making every effort in life.

Of course, I am not talking about anything that is beyond our individual capabilities.

We might not be able to walk far, if at all, but is there anything we can do to make life easier not only for ourselves but also those nearest and dearest to us.

If we can find ways to get up after a fall, without needing help, we have made a good start. But finding ways to stop falling is even better.

In my own case, my mobility has been increasingly affected over the years. In gradual stages, progressive multiple sclerosis has taken its toll.

determination

Menai Suspension Bridge, from which I abseiled in 1997.

Thirty years ago, as an adult leader in the Scouts, I was an accredited mountain walking leader, went rock climbing and enjoyed abseiling. On one occasion, for a medical charity, I abseiled from the Menai Suspension Bridge in North Wales, UK.

Twenty years ago, my difficulties in mobility had begun. Walking was a task that no longer came naturally. I was forced to think about each and every step.

Fifteen years ago, my inability to left my left leg led to a diagnosis of MS.

Ten years ago, after several falls, I started using a walking stick/cane outdoors. This minimized falls but could not prevent them. A year earlier, I had found it impossible to continue working and so tried to find ways to help move about.

Determination to be independent

First, I tried mobility scooters but these were not deal for me. You see, scooters are designed to be driven using both your hands which did not suit my left arm and hand which are so weak that I cannot even use them to eat.

While continuing to use a walking stick for short distances, up to 10 yards or so, longer distances required a wheelchair. This was the only way to avoid falls

Initially, I tried a self-propelled manual chair but soon found that I needed to have someone push me. My weak left arm/hand meant I could make great left-handed circles but going straight just wasn’t possible.

This was followed by my first electric power wheelchair. Now, this gave independence when using it, with one-handed joystick control. However, I still needed help getting it in and out of my Chrysler Voyager. My beloved Lisa still had to manhandle a folding ramp, so it wasn’t ideal. In fact, she said that she’d rather push the manual chair than fight with the ramp.

So, how could I regain some independence and not cause more work for my nearest and dearest?

new normal

The lightweight folding electric wheelchair that I use today.

The answer was surprisingly easy. I bought one of the lightweight folding electric power wheelchairs now on the market. This I can easily get into and out of the car using just one hand giving me independence to reach anywhere that has no more than a small kerb or step to overcome.

It means that now Lisa can choose to stay in our car, while I get out to run one errand or another.

For me, determination has paid off, and continues to do so. How about you?

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. I am not a doctor and cannot and do not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely my own unless otherwise stated.

Conservative peer calls out McVey for lying to MPs about Motability

Current work and pensions secretary Esther McVey stands accused of lying to fellow MPs about the Motability disability car scheme. In parliamentary-speak, this is called ‘misleading the house’.

And the accusation comes from within her own party!

Lord Sterling, who was a founder of Motability in 1977, told McVey in a letter that the “litany of inaccuracies”, in a House of Commons debate earlier this month, were “deeply troubling”.

motability

Lord Sterling.

His letter revealed that 75,000 Motability customers had to return vehicles following reassessment for which her department (DWP) was responsible. They had previously claimed disability living allowance (DLA) but had been reassessed for personal independence payment (PIP), and lost entitlement.

The February 8 debate followed a claim, in the Daily Mail newspaper, that Motability Operations (MO) had £2.4 billion reserves. A second claim was that Motability chief executive, Mike Betts, had a £1.7 million pay and bonuses package. 

But Lord Sterling’s letter said that the debate had been “deeply flawed and misleading”. He wrote that some errors related to claims that the charity was holding the reserves and running the scheme, and that Betts was employed by the charity. None of those is true.

He pointed out the scheme was delivered by MO under contract to the Motability charity, not by the charity itself.

He told McVey that a separate letter, correcting “many false statements”, was sent to her by Motability Operations.

motability

Esther McVey, work and pensions secretary.

McVey makes serious errors in Commons

He pointed out that McVey herself had made four serious errors:

  • Error 1: She had called for the charity’s trustees to be “held to account” after another MP told how a constituent who had been a lifetime recipient of DLA had been threatened with having her Motability vehicle removed on Boxing Day.

Fact 1: Sterling said this was a result of a PIP reassessment – carried out by the DWP. It was the department that had decided the constituent was no longer eligible for the higher rate of mobility support. This made her no longer eligible to lease a car through the Motability scheme.

  • Error 2: McVey’s claimed in the debate that it had been her intervention, as minister for disabled people in 2013, that led to Motability agreeing to pass £175 million to former DLA claimants who lost their Motability vehicles in the reassessment programme.

Fact 2: Not true said Lord Sterling.  Minutes of the charity’s meetings showed that its own trustees had made this decision themselves the previous year. They “felt a moral obligation to help people at risk of losing cars due to government policy changes”. In fact, they had already decided by December 2012, months before McVey’s intervention, “to provide a package of significant financial support and other assistance”.

Furthermore, he said McVey had suggested in 2013 that this support should only be focused on the initial stage of reassessments, up to 2015-16. However, Motability’s trustees wanted to provide financial support “over the full period of the DWP’s reassessments”.

He added the charity had to face customers who were “confused, distressed and even suicidal, as they worry about losing their mobility”.

No basis to demand money

  • Error 3: McVey told MPs that the DWP would use money regained from Motability to help constituents whose cars had been removed before their PIP appeals had been heard.

In the debate, she said: “When we have got the money back from Motability, we believe we should to support disabled people, that is one of the first things it should be used for.”

Fact 3: Lord Sterling poured cold water on this suggestion.  He said there was “no basis on which the government can demand any money to be handed over”.

  • Error 4: McVey claimed that the charity was piloting a scheme – “after direction from the department” – to help disabled children under the age of three.

Fact 4: Lord Sterling dismissed this, and said the scheme was actually being piloted by MO and there had been “no direction” from DWP.

motabilityA DWP spokeswoman refused to say if McVey would apologise for the “inaccuracies” in her statements to MPs.

Instead, she said: “When PIP was first introduced, the government worked with Motability to design an extensive £175 million transitional support package to support Motability customers who have not been awarded the enhanced mobility component on reassessment from DLA to PIP.

“While the department works closely with Motability, it is an independent charitable organisation and therefore we are not directly involved in determining scheme policy or operational issues.”

Review call rejected

McVey has suffered another setback. She called, in the debate, for the Charity Commission to carry out another review of the financial relationship between the charity and Motability Operations. This would have followed one it carried out last year. In response, the commission declined to do so, and said that it has no new concerns.

motabilityIt issued a statement, saying: “In light of media reporting about the Motability scheme, we reviewed the highlighted issues to see if there was anything we had not investigated as part of our previous regulatory compliance case in Motability… which was under our jurisdiction as regulator of charities in England and Wales.

“Having reviewed the latest information in the media we have concluded that, as set out in our statement on 8 February, there are no new concerns that come under the commission’s jurisdiction.”

As a former client of Motability, I can say I always received excellent service. If I still lived in the UK, I would still be driving one of the schemes cars. Unfortunately, the mobility element of DLA and PIP is not paid to people living overseas – so I bought my own.

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. I am not a doctor and cannot and do not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely my own unless otherwise stated.

Motability faces financial allegations but stands strong against its critics

Shock, horror. Motabilty Operations, part of the Motability charity, is facing allegations about its finances.

The UK organisation provides cars for disabled people who receive the highest level of benefit for mobility. It is accused of having enormous cash reserves and is said to pay its chief executive an outrageous six figure salary.

Extraordinary, we must investigate, say ministers and other MPs. BUT, hold on, what are the FACTS? What is the TRUTH?

The Daily Mail first revealed the allegations in a report published this week. In the Mail Online, the story was headlined “Revealed: Boss of car scheme for the disabled is on £1.7million… and YOU pay: MPs question Motability’s lavish salaries and its £2.4billion cash stockpile”.

Today, it returned to the story, quoting the Press Association saying:

A disability charity faces a double investigation after MPs raised concerns over the “grotesque” state of its finances.

Work and pensions secretary Esther McVey said she has asked the National Audit Office (NAO) to consider probing Motability amid reports it has a £2.4 billion surplus and pays its chief executive £1.7 million a year.

Labour’s Frank Field, chairman of the Work and Pensions select committee, also confirmed his panel would be launching its own “urgent inquiry”.

Allegations rebuffed

I am sure you will agree, if the allegations turn out to be true, it would be disgusting. Profiteering on the backs of the disabled. However, there are two sides to every story and Motability has hit back.

It has issued a strongly worded rebuff to the claims made against it. In its statement, Motability said:

motabilityThe Daily Mail claims there is a £2.4bn ‘cash stockpile’ or ‘spare £2.4bn’.

It’s quite clear to us that the Daily Mail has totally misunderstood what this £2.4 billion of reserves represents. It is not held as cash but is used to buy cars for disabled people. This reduces the amount of borrowing required.

It also underpins the scheme’s financial stability, protecting it from the business risks it faces, particularly in relation to used car values. The Charity Commission has today stated “that we consider the level of operating capital held by the company in order to guarantee the scheme to be conservative”.

Moving on to the issue of the salary paid to Mike Betts, the charity said:

The remuneration of Motability Operations directors is decided by the Motability operations board, based on the advice of their remuneration committee.

Successful and effective

Remuneration is reviewed against the market to ensure that it is both competitive over the long term, and to ensure that any rewards are related to performance especially in relation to the quality of service provided to customers.

The current chief executive of Motability Operations, Mike Betts, has been in place since 2003 and has been instrumental in ensuring the company is able to operate successfully and effectively.

So, we have allegations and a complete rebuff. Now, we will have to wait for the inquiries to be completed and all the facts to be established.

Until then, I’ll give Motability the benefit of any doubt. After all, like anyone else, the company should be considered innocent until proven guilty.

•  Having multiple sclerosis£££, I was awarded the top level of both care and mobility elements of Disabled Living Allowance. I chose to use the mobility element to get a Motability car when I lived in Wales. While I still have the same award, the mobility element is not paid outside the UK and so, living in Spain, I don’t receive it. However, if I moved back to Britain, I would be paid it again.

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. I am not a doctor and cannot and do not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely my own unless otherwise stated.

Mobility scooters: A question of cruising

Cruise lovers have widely differing opinions about the use of mobility scooters on board ships. And that affects everyone with mobility difficulties, whether caused by a disease such as multiple sclerosis, injury, or even aging.

Their views are included as comments on a story appearing on cruise.co.uk website. They vary from calls for mobility scooters to be banned to criticism of such opinions, and points in between.

mobility scootersThe main problem seems to stem from a perception that some people choose to use scooters even though they do not have a mobility issue.

Cruise companies comply with disability equality laws and have their own accessibility policies. That’s why mobility scooters and wheelchairs are widely allowed, although individual cruise lines may have their own restrictions.

Some comments were against mobility scooters:

Jeanette Webster: They shouldn’t be allowed on cruise ships they take up to much room,plus they drive them to fast without care for others.

I have to disagree with a ban but mobility scooter users must do so with care and consideration for others.

Angela Hobbs Clarke: Why should we be inconvenienced by them? We pay a lot of money to cruise, and to be able to move about the ship without large scooters being parked in the halls. How would these disabled people get off in an emergency, and how would we able bodied passengers navigate round them in the dark.

Inconvenienced? People who NEED to use scooters are still people. They should be given access and treated equally. That is their legal right.

Paul Lavin: They are a lethal weapon they should be totally banned everywhere. People with genuine mobility problems should use a conventional wheelchair.

What a disgusting attitude. Everywhere? Really? Lethal weapons, indeed! And as for using a conventional wheelchair, what if they can’t use one? Maybe they are alone and don’t have the strength to get about unless someone pushes them?

Carol Hunter: We went on a cruise in May and there was a man driving round on his mobility scooter, making everyone get out of the way. In the evening, he would park it at the side of the dance floor, get up and have a dance with a few ladies. He’d then get back on his scooter and drive off!!

If this is true, I find such behaviour deplorable. From what Carol says, it would seem this scooter user’s mobility problems are not genuine.

Others spoke in defence of scooters:

Janice Derose: Why not? I’ve been on several cruises, no problem at all with them (scooters). People need a holiday, they shouldn’t need to stay at home just because people like you can’t show empathy. None of us are out of this world yet, maybe we should start saving for one.

Fair point.

David Haverty: One day you may well need one. Will you want to give up cruising? I don’t have one and don’t anticipate needing one in the foreseeable future, but feel compact scooters should be accepted, even if with restrictions on cabin choice or total number of scooters on board.

I agree, on both.

Diane Roe: I don’t drive too fast without a care for others. In fact, over the last few years I have noticed more ignorant able-bodied people who push in front and block the lifts, it works 2 ways!!

Scooter users who have disabilities are mostly accompanied by someone walking, so driving the scooter at walking speed is the norm. It’s true about the lifts/elevators. Able-bodies people can use the stairs, scooter users can’t.

Maralyn Lord: Anybody that says no – I hope that one day they don’t need them (mobility scooters) because whoever is using the scooter, the person with them is usually able to walk. Should they be denied a holiday on a cruise ship? Anybody who says yes (they should be denied a cruise), I hope that they never need to use one. Life is not easy. Should we stay at home because it causes a nuisance to people more fortunate than ourselves?

No one should be forced to stay at home and forego a cruise holiday just because they have reduced mobility and use a scooter.

And finally…

Janet Bottomley: My father takes his mobility scooter but only uses it when he goes ashore. He walks with a stick aboard. And if they only allow scooters in adapted cabins it naturally controls how many are on board.

Great that he’s able to do that.

I have cruised, successfully, using both a manual wheelchair and a scooter. Next time, I’ll will use my folding electric wheelchair that I am confident will give me the best of both worlds.

Happy cruising to all.

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

 

Falls – the good, the bad, and the ……

Falls are a fact of life for people with multiple sclerosis or other disability that includes mobility and balance problems. But, those of us who take the tumbles know they are not all the same.

We divide them into bad falls and good falls. So, what is a “good” fall? How can any fall be good?

Well, from personal experience, I know that some falls can be thought of as good. I will try and explain.

falls First of all, there is the matter of injury. Any fall that incurs no more than bruises and scratches has got to be thought of as nothing to worry about. I have learned to relax and roll

Injuries, though, are not the only factor. Here I can only speak with my knowledge as a person with MS. I know that people without disabilities fall sometimes, and MS is not behind all my unscheduled meetings with the floor. After all, anyone can slip or trip.

Those of us who have MS know full well what can be blamed on the disease. In my own case, muscle weakness in my left leg can lead to my left knee giving way without warning. At other times, I cannot maintain my balance or am just too tired to move or stand up any longer.

These falls are all attributed to MS as it affects me. You may have other symptoms and effects. We all know, however, that every fall is bad if it is connected to MS.

However, other unplanned descents can be totally unconnected with the disability and so are “good” falls. These can include slips, trips, misjudging distances and so on.

Not all falls can be blamed on MS

Some recent mishaps in my life have included misjudging the distance to an ottoman and only half sitting on it, ending on the floor. Another time, I turned over in bed but was too close to the edge and so found the floor again. Both of these left me completely unhurt and helpless with laughter. Neither were linked to MS.

Another risk you have to look out for is moving obstacles, namely pets. In my case, we have three cats and two are good at keeping out of my way but the eldest (19½ years) doesn’t. Indeed, she manages to get right in the way and then stop – as though daring me to get past. So far, no accidents there but I have to stay alert.

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Clinical Writer with Healthline, the fastest growing health information site. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

Mobility aids need to be embraced, not feared

We often say that we are people with disabilities, not disabled people. That is, we are people first. I agree with that view, and have said so before.

The overall point is that we are all individuals, we are not our diseases. But some run the risk of taking that too far as they refuse to use aids that would make their lives easier.

Take mobility problems as an example. It is not unknown for some people to show reluctance to even using a walking stick or cane.

That same reluctance seems to exhibit itself at every stage that mobility deteriorates. Each new piece of equipment designed to overcome a difficulty in walking. They include the use of two canes, a walker, a rollator, a wheelchair and, ultimately, a powered wheelchair or a scooter.

mobility

In one of my wheelchairs on a Mediterranean beach, close to my home.

I make no secret of the fact that I have mobility issues, caused by multiple sclerosis. At home, I manage to move around using furniture and walls for support. But, even doing that, I can still fall. Outdoors, I can´t walk a step without support of one type or another. Even with support, I can walk about 15 yards before looking for a place to sit down.

That was the reason I decided to buy a rollator, a form of walker on wheels with brakes like a bicycle and parking brakes too. Add to that a built-in seat and, when I need one, I have my own chair.

Mobility aids are tools to help

I looked at using a rollator as a positive step. Instead, it allows me to walk more safely and take a break whenever needed without any risk of falling.

To travel any greater distances, I use a wheelchair but this is a tool not a way of life.

For me, a wheelchair is not a last resort, not something to dread. Instead, I look at it as a valuable tool that gets me to go places I couldn’t otherwise reach. So, instead of being disabled, I consider myself wheelchair-enabled.

What’s more, when using my electric wheelchair (I have an older, manual one as well) I am also independent as I can go places by myself.

To anyone who has a mobility difficulty, my message is simple. Don’t be afraid to try the next aid. You might be surprised by how much it helps you.

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Features Writer with Medical News Today. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.