April 9th, 2018
Taking a step forward in true citizenship – The Walker
We often see success as forward movement or accomplishing a goal. However, when that is our primary definition we miss the opportunity to meet someone where they’re at and listen to what they want for their life.
Matt is a person who grew up with many mobility aids. He spent his childhood using leg braces, crutches and wheelchairs to get around. Early on, Matt decided he wanted to walk on his own without the need of these aids. He accomplished that goal, and for over 20 years has lived life with his family and friends, holding paid employment, volunteering and exercising in the community.
This past year, Matt recognized that he has become more unsteady in his balance. He began to talk to the people in his life about the idea of getting a walker.
During some initial conversations, he was asked if he really needed a walker and if he wanted to use an aid that he previously worked so hard to not need anymore.
While mobility aids allow people opportunities to experience and enjoy a full life, would this be a step backwards in Matt’s story?
Matt’s answer was “No!”
He persisted and advocated for himself. He boldly stated this was what he needed and asked for help to make this happen. As much as we want to say that this success was in part due to the fact that he lives in FamilyHome, which provides him a living environment and relationships with a young family who encourage him to advocate for himself, this is not the claim to the success of this story. Matt is his own success.
He stands up for himself, asks for help and reminds those around him that he is a person who can make his own choices. Matt does not think he should ask for permission to make choices. He believes he has the right to make choices in his life. And so, Matt is sporting a brand new walker all around town and is proud to show off his Hot Wheels to anyone who asks.
Using a walker is not a step backwards. It’s a step forward in true citizenship. Matt spoke up for what he wanted and followed through on something that helps him enjoy a full life.
Living in the Community
Something we hear time and again is that the people we support want to live and feel connected to their community. Some will live with family and seek short breaks while others want an opportunity to live more independently. Programs like FamilyHome and Respite offer the creativity and flexibility to do just this.