Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ideas for handicapped survival issues‏

The following article was written by my friend Rick Davis who also lives in Argentina. I really like the way Rick thinks and rationalizes things. In many ways my beloved 86 year old grandmother is setup in a similar way. She lives in a downtown area of the Bs. As. suburbs, has services near by, WALKS to buy whatever she needs. Has a little grocery cart so as not to carry weight. (yes, before you even ask, there’s the pic. These are used a lot here by older folks) 
She lives in a 4th floor so she’s dependant on electricity and has to stay put during blackouts, but other than that she manages by herself. Key to her situation has been building relationships with the people that live nearby. She has her neighbors in case she’s in need of immediate help. For a few bucks the building manager does some handyman repairs on her condo in his spare time, or she asks me to do it. There’s also my aunt, who helps out when she needs anything and of course I help too, driving her to the doctor and such. Family is so important, its simply one of those things you realize as time goes by. As Rick explains, you eventually get older and end up needing assistance. My grandmother grew up in a farm, living off the land during the Spanish civil war and experienced first hand what many just theorize about. Its not easy to live off a farm during wartime, when food is being confiscated and rationed. She did not set up a farm when she moved to Argentina and she knew well enough what to do and how to set up her life as she grew older. My grandfather, may he rest in peace, he bought a couple condos after retiring. Its those same condos plus her retirement that allows her to afford what she needs and pay for things, including a top quality private health plan which already saved her life more than once. Even after an economic collapse and hyperinflation before that, the condos still get her the money she needs to live. Two well located condos is ok, three is better. Think about that when planning how you will survive after retiring.
Enjoy Rick´s article and take care,

Ideas for handicapped survival issues‏

Saludos from Argentina… Reading entries and comments on various survival blogs, I see that the handicapped folks who are preppers have a tough time. I have given the issues facing that part of our prepper community some thought, and I believe our lives are enriched by the contributions of all of us… including the handicapped. It would be nice if the needs of the elderly and handicapped for prepping could be discussed a bit.

Now, we all know that the needs of a growing young family with kids is the very most complex set of needs for which to prep. The needs of a handicapped person, living alone, are very different. We all hope to never be alone in life, but as we age, our support group disappears on us. As we age, the years take their toll and we start acting handicapped. If we live long enough, we outlive our strength, our stamina, and our ability to sustain significant physical hardship. Prepping while young, we may wish to keep the needs of a handicapped person living alone in mind, as a possibility to consider when making prep decisions.

I did some volunteer work for a charity in aid of the handicapped and elderly whose support systems had disappeared. A Texas state court judge would establish the individual as a ward of the state and send in our charity to assess the needs and we would usually become the ad litem guardian for the client. We saw some pretty grim sights, working for the court in that role.

So, how should our life and prep decisions be handled in such a way as to try to take the needs of handicapped persons living alone? Let’s start with where we choose to live.

Independent living for seriously handicapped persons requires access to mass transit and handicapped services. While living in a cabin out in the boonies may be appealing to the hardier souls among us, drastic upheavals and relocations are required when the person’s independence is compromised. As an avid reader of FerFAL and the commentators on his blog, I get the feeling that not everyone has the option to sell everything they own and move to the country where the additional land can be put to good use for growing food. Those who have good jobs and/or other reasons to have to go town every day can bear witness to the physical, mental and financial cost. In the event a prepper outlives their means of independent living in a remote location, they may wish they had chosen to live in a small town or suburb wherein a degree of assistance may be available, and with easy access to services.

An important consideration seems to be the possibility of organizing a group of handicapped persons living together to maintain their independence as long as possible. Two handicapped persons may be able to extend their independent living time by several years by pooling resources and helping one another. If you are a handicapped person with a large home with lots of spare space, you may want to consider looking for a roommate… or, two or three. You may want to talk to Adult Protective Services of your state government to see if they have some likely roommate candidates in your area. They will also be interested in referring you to someone with a home seeking roommates if you without your own home, but are looking for such a place to rent or share. Also, it is my experience that social workers and service providers like to be able to have groups of clients in close proximity to one another, so such clients get better services or a higher level of service.

Another consideration… try to pick a state to live in where handicapped services are more available. The states with the highest tax rates are often the least favorable states because they tend to be the poorest managers of resources. Some handicapped persons must go into nursing homes at an earlier time than might otherwise be necessary due to the lack of handicap van or public transportation to facilitate doctor visits, medical treatment visits, etc. which are typically available only in the better run jurisdictions.

My wife and I own a place in a town of 600,000 population within the “micro-center” of the town. That means we don’t need a car to get around. Our home is on the same water and power grid as the provincial government offices, the traffic and criminal courts, the cathedral, etc. so we would not be without essential services very long. The roof might need a bit of additional structural support to be able to build multi-level growing pods for veggies, etc. but, I already have a pellet rifle to bag some pigeons for the stewpot! As a sailor, I know how to rig canvas to trap and route rainwater into catchments that can be used to supplement stored water. I also know how to run out naked into the rain to shower off with my bar of soap in my hand, but I worry about the hi-rise apartment neighbors having nightmares from such a sight. Sailors also know all kinds of ways to live off the grid with 12 volt systems power and combining solar and wind sources with banks of batteries to be charged for storage, tricks for storing food without refrigeration, and interesting ways of boiling water… the basis for many a fine one-pot meal. While our storage space is severely limited compared to normal US architecture, we are able to build up some small storage capabilities for food, water and essential consumables. Services and mass transit available here are the best I’ve seen, and handicap vans are passing by day and night.

Our place was bought in 1990 when 3 teenagers lived at home. It is fairly unsuitable in terms of handicapped living, but the location and services available within walking distance are great. It is up a flight of stairs, and inside, the wheelchair access is fairly limited. But, it is big enough to invite 3 – 5 roommates to share our space. If they were handicapped, we could combine resources with these other people to hire specialists to help us with our mobility and medical issues.  If the day ever comes where we need roommates, we are 3 blocks from an important university, and in the same area as the local Law School, and should be able to attract young renters, if we decide to go that route. If our mobility issues ever get so difficult we need to move, the 6 – 8 students we could house would pay for our first-floor accommodation elsewhere.

If you are house hunting for your young, growing family, it is wise to consider…
. are there stairs and other handicap barricades?
. is there room to rent out living space to other people after the kids are grown?
. what are the support structure and public transportation issues in the area?
. what are the high-density veggie growing options on the property?

If you plan on dying young and missing all the heartache of watching your body deteriorate and your life options shrink, think again. You may be disappointed.

Suerte -CapnRick
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