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Thread: Does anyone Live Alone and NOT have a caregiver?

  1. #1

    Does anyone Live Alone and NOT have a caregiver?

    Hi, I've been in a nursing home for 13 months experiencing two flap surgeries, one that failed and I found an apartment and I'm being discharged in 12 days, Friday, November 2 and I will have a caregiver from 7:00 am to 11:00 am seven days a week.

    While I was in my last apartment, I needed someone there to transfer into bed with my sliding board because of weak trunk muscles. This time, I learned from my mistake and I have been lifting dumbbells in bed for an hour and then I head to REHAB for 1 1/2 hours and I have been working my a** off. Consequently, after transferring in and out of bed with a transfer board, I haven't needed the help of any REHAB staff or any CNA!

    At this point, I only have a power chair and it won't fit through the bathroom door. The width of the bathroom door is only 28." My physician has written a script for a specialty manual chair and once I get that, I will get an order for Home physical therapy to teach me how to transfer to a shower chair so I won't have to use my caregiver for a bed bath.

    You can obviously tell where I am going with this. Any type of store is within wheelchair distance, I would just have to prepare my meals and do the dishes.

    That's my plan. Is it realistic? May I be without a caregiver or should I have her on hand in case something happens?

    What do you guys do that live alone?

  2. #2
    Sounds like you need more rehab. Is it possible to get discharged back to acute SCI rehab (not just nursing home therapy) before going home? At your level (T7) you should not need a caregiver at all, and should be independent in cooking, light housekeeping, transfers, and self care.

    Why do you use a power chair only at T7?

    Have you explored a slider tub system for bathing? There are ones that will go through a narrow door, and which you can push yourself. I assume you have a tub (or is it a stall shower?).

    Any chance a family member could stay with you for a while until you get your homemaking and cooking skills going better?

    (KLD)

  3. #3
    I'm a T4,5,6 and I've lived on my own & alone for almost 15 years now. I cook, clean, grocery shop, work atleast 40 hrs a week, drive a small car & put gas in my car.

    If you want it, you can do it! Good luck & I wish you all the best.
    SCI Birthday: April 25, 1993
    T4,5,6 Incomplete
    Chair: TiLite TR3

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by stumpybushman View Post
    I'm a T4,5,6 and I've lived on my own & alone for almost 15 years now. I cook, clean, grocery shop, work atleast 40 hrs a week, drive a small car & put gas in my car.

    If you want it, you can do it! Good luck & I wish you all the best.
    Hey stumpybushman, that's my exact injury level too. T-4, 5 & 6. I usually just say or write T-5 though I guess it would be more accurate to say or write T-4 since that's the highest level and it's like a chain- only as strong as its weakest link.

    I've been on my own for 33 years and do everything that you listed myself too. Though I haven't driven in over 20+ years.

    Hi Michael,

    I think those sliding boards are really dangerous... especially when wet. I find it to be a lot easier, faster and safer transferring using just my arms. My left arm is getting some kinda neuropathy in it so I decided to start using a shower/commode chair. This way I'm transferring in the bedroom where it's carpeted and not in the bathroom where the floor is hard tile and very slippery when wet. I have a roll-in shower so I'm lucky in that regard. From the bed to the toilet to the shower and then back into a towel covered bed for getting dressed. I'm getting older and find it easier and safer to get dressed in bed rather than in my tippy Quickie GPV manual wheelchair, especially when using a Jay2 cushion. Those Jay2s form a fairly deep "pocket" where my skinny butt sits and I get kinda stuck in it!

    Hopefully you can get your bathroom adapted for wheelchair living. At least get that door widened. Depending on how your house or apartment is laid out you'll need to figure out how wide you'll need it to be. That is to say is it a straight shot into the bathroom or do you need to turn into it from a hallway/narrow hallway etc. I'm sure you'll be getting a sport chair one of these days and they can get very wide depending on the degree of camber you have your wheels set to.

    There's no need for you to have a helper. I think they would just get in the way. Like Nurse KLD recommended... just get a little more rehab aimed mostly at transferring from different surfaces and situations. Once you get it down pat you'll wonder why you even wrote this post! Really, transfers aren't a big deal.

    I think power chairs are a lot harder to transfer to and from than manual chairs are because you can't get them as close to say your bed or raised toilet seat or shower bench or whatever. Ideally a shower/commode chair combined with a roll-in shower is the way to go. I believe you live in an apartment now (?) and thinking wishfully- perhaps you and your landlord can work something out. I can't imagine what the consequences would be if you ever take a serious fall onto a hard slippery bathroom floor. Broken legs, shoving a bone through your newly healed and healing pressure sores and even a brain injury, etc. One day in the hospital costs a lot more than everything you'll need to become independent and safe in the bathroom. Shower/commode chair, widened door and a roll-in shower wouldn't cost you and your landlord, working together, very much at all. My shower/commode chair was only $800 new. I've seen them here in the "Equipment" forum for less than half that and even saw a couple/few given away. Check with your local ILC and find out where you can get used medical equipment at. There's a church in my area that serves as a hub for just this kind of stuff. Most medical equipment is barely used at all before it's not needed anymore and it's donated so you can get it for free. I was about to write that you could get it for a dance but on second thought!

    I'm rambling.

    Good luck with your pressure sore(s) and here's to a safe and healthy life in your future.

    Bob.
    "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." - Philo of Alexandria

  5. #5
    i live by myself and many quads i know do to.

    every injury is diff. and maybe you can change transfer technique to eliminate the slide board.

    i do all transfer's w/o a slide board and when getting into my car i take both wheels off my chair before i can load it into the back seat.

    nothing came easy so dont get discouraged if things go slow and if you want to live alone you can.

  6. #6
    I'm T6 and have been living alone for more than 20 years. I don't know all of the particulars of your disability, but judging from what you have posted, I would say yes you are being realisitic with your goals. Living alone is scary at first, but once you develop routines, it gets easier. Transfers are a must though. Maybe just a short time in rehab will help you. Once you learn to transfer independently and safely, you shouldn't have any trouble. Please be careful with that transfer board though, especially with those freshly healed flaps. Good luck and congratulations on your new apartment.

  7. #7
    My son is T4 he has been living alone for the past 5 years. He has a lady who comes one / week for a couple of hours, she does his laundry and whatever needs to be done. Other then that Jordan does everything on his own.
    My mouth is like a magician's hat, never know what might come out of it.

  8. #8
    Just wanted to reinforce that the nurse has a GREAT idea of trying to go back to acute rehab for a few weeks (or more!) to see if you can get stronger, have more time to maybe optimize your home a little (it is pretty easy to widen a doorway).

    Talk with the docs and social worker/case manager about this tomorrow. You definitely could be more independent and since you are so motivated (nice job with the weights!) you will do well with more intense rehab. You should also make sure that when you finally do get discharged home your docs write a prescription for rehab at home to help with some OT/PT during the transition.

    Good luck!

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2008
    Location
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    Quote Originally Posted by michael5462 View Post
    That's my plan. Is it realistic?
    Hell yes. Whilst I don't know all of your situation, I know that my T6 complete 9 year old son will be capable of living on his own when he's old enough to want to. (I just tried to attach a photo of him vacuuming the apartment we were staying in recently, whistling while he worked(!), but my iPad has decided not to let it happen...).

    At this stage, the only thing he doesn't do is cook, but what 9 year old does...?!?
    Gordon, father of son who became t6 paraplegic at the age of 4 in 2007 as a result of surgery to remove a spinal tumour.

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