Whether it's a cane or a walker, walking aids can make a significant contribution to greater mobility and a more self-determined life. Tahina Andale has also made this experience. Why the path to this realization was not always easy and what else has helped her to cope better with her chronic illness, she tells us on REHACARE.com.
Name: Tahina Andale Age: 40 City: Southern Black forest, Germany Occupation: Reduced-earning-capacity pension, previous occupations: librarian, healthcare saleswoman, consultant at a care support center Impairment: systemic lupus erythematosus
Tahina Andale: A good day is always a good pain day. A day when brainfog and fatigue don't keep me from doing the things I want to do. If there is still enough energy for a walk with my partner and time with friends (e.g. pen and paper games), then it is not only a good day, but a very good one.
Which auxiliary means or daily living aids are indispensable for you?
Tahina Andale: A walking aid is indispensable for me. I have various canes and two wheeled walkers – so I am prepared for most situations. A tray to carry things like books, teacup, etc. on the walker. Large pillbox to keep me going all week. Handle reinforcements to open bottles. A special brush so I can brush my hair on my own. Sunglasses and umbrella to be protected from sunlight. A shower seat is also essential. Just like my smartphone. It reminds me to take my medication and important appointments (doctor, physiotherapy, lymphatic drainage, etc).
What would you like to see from society and your fellow people in dealing with people with disabilities?
Tahina Andale: To recognize that disability can affect us all at any time, and therefore, realize that efforts to promote inclusion and reduce barriers affect us all.
Which assistive device would urgently need to be invented and/or improved?
Tahina Andale: Book holders. I have already tried a few, but so far there was none that would have been permanently practical.
The decision to use a walking aid was not easy for Tahina Andale at first. Now, however, she is very grateful for it, as the walker enables her to go for walks and move around more overall.
What has been your biggest challenge so far that you have mastered – and what has helped you?
Tahina Andale: Learning to deal with my illness. Above all, the realization that there are no guarantees. You can't make a contract with life: positive attitude, sports, healthy diet, various therapies and treatments against health or overcoming the disease – this so often only works in movies and books. My husband was by my side in everything and helped me to accept the changed situation. And having a common hobby that can be continued despite lupus was also very helpful.
What can the assistive technology industry learn from the Corona pandemic to make life easier and/or better for people with disabilities in the future?
Tahina Andale: Especially the first year of the pandemic was encouraging in a way. So many online offers and opportunities to participate virtually in events, or to work in a home office. It would be desirable if these offerings did not disappear again.
If nothing would be impossible: Who would you like to meet one day and why?
Tahina Andale: There are quite a few wonderful people I've met over the years and spend a lot of time with online. I would love to sit at a table with them sometime.
What was your best REHACARE experience?
Tahina Andale: I haven't been there yet.
What I wanted to say ...
Tahina Andale: One of the best decisions I made in recent years was to finally use a walking aid. I am still grateful today that my physiotherapist encouraged me to do so. Doctors, in my experience, often have a strange relationship with walkers. Some of them even wanted to discourage me from using one. Supposedly, I would then move less. But the absolute opposite was the case: Especially the wheeled walker made walks possible for me again and gave me a new independence. I don't believe that anyone makes the decision for a walker easily. From there my advice would be, to each person, who thinks about using it, to try it absolutely once. Assistive devices help – but only if given a chance. :)