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A New Life

Towards the end of your stay in rehab, your nurses and therapists will prepare you to be as independent as possible. They will want you to mobilise safely and complete your daily tasks where possible.

 

You will slowly get used to being home again, and your community occupational therapist will be a great source of support for this. It will seem nerve-wracking at first, but by learning new ways of doing things, it will soon become more natural.

In the section below, I've included a few things I've found useful.

My new theory is that whilst you can still practise things you did before, if you find a way that helps make something more manageable, go for it! With ataxia, I struggle with buttons and laces. I've now taken to wearing leggings, and slip-on shoes.  

 

I  found these excellent no-tie shoelacesThey are fiddly to fit but save so much time when getting dressed and come in various colours. I also like these cord shoelaces. I had them when I was younger, but they work well now and are easy to use. You pull them tight and twiddle them together. The set I have comes in a multipack of colours.

 

I buy my leggings from a company called Llama Leisure Leggings. They are fantastic, incredibly comfortable, have bright and colourful designs, and are reasonably priced! They also do shorts, capri leggings, sweatshirts and "lejoggers" (looser leggings). They've been an absolute lifesaver for my ataxia.

I have lousy proprioception issues in my left hand and foot. I have found ways to make navigating my way around the house safer. For example, if I climb stairs with both feet facing forward as you would usually, my left foot doesn't feel the set, and I'm more likely to fall. If I put my feet out to the side (like a duck), my whole foot is on the ground, so it's much safer.  

 

When I'm out in town using my walker, I tend to use cycling glovesThese help with my proprioception, especially in wet weather when griping the handles is more challenging.

Using a wheel laundry basket is a great way to transfer your laundry from the washing machine to the tumble dryer. If your appliances are at floor level, I highly recommend a stool to sit on. I use a regular kick stool, but plenty of other options exist. These are the basket and stool I use.

A quick tip: if you have any problems with your vision (for me,e it's limited peripheral vision and a little depth perception), if you're pouring a drink from a bottle to the glass, rest the bottle against the glass. You could end up pouring the drink over the table instead (been there, done that)! 

In The Community

Getting readjusted to being back in your local community will take time.  I've noted a few things I find useful.  My biggest piece of advice is to take things slowly. I've included the website links to apply for these in my helpful bits and bobs area

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Blue Badge

Apply to your local council for a blue badge. Each council has different rules; some will charge you for parking or only allow you a certain number of hours (or even both).

 

You need to fill in an application form with questions relating to your disability, something such as the distance you can walk unaided.

 

You'll also need paperwork to prove your disability, like a discharge letter from rehab.

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Public Transport

Your council should do a bus pass.  This offers free travel between certain hours, and some also allow for a companion.

 

For train travel, you can apply for a disabled rail card via National Rail.  These are sold for a year or three-year period.  They give you a 1/3 off the ticket price for you and a companion.

 

Similar to the Blue Badge, you will need medical paperwork.

Check with your local authority as to what community transport schemes they run.

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Community Access

I have limited peripheral vision, so it takes me much longer to cross the road or navigate obstacles. With my balance, I notice cambers and uneven pavement much more. Make sure you take your time and reacquaint yourself with your local area.

In shops, I look for obstacles like shelving units or mobile card stands; I've come close to taking out shelves with fragile items and had a near-miss with a card stand.

 

Don't forget your radar key (a key for accessible loos) when you are out for a meal or shopping. It saves you from asking the staff to open the door for you.

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