The trials and tribulations of living independently

Some readers may remember one of my earlier entries where I revealed that I finally took the plunge and moved out of the family home. I am now living independently in a flat, ironically on the first floor (and there isn’t a lift!). The transition was pretty smooth as I had already had a test run at the end of last year.

My grandparents used to live in this flat and so I have many fond memories from when I was young. I used to sleep there on the weekends when my parents wanted to go out and I used to spend the day there when I was feeling unwell. It had a distinct smell which I still can’t put my finger on and I remember it being quite dark.

When they finally moved out the smell still lingered for a while but my brother moved in and the heavy shades were removed and the smell was replaced with floral incense.

Now that I have moved in I am enjoying the afternoons when the sun sprays itself over the dining room table and when I light a candle and the smell of jasmine wafts through the rooms.

The flat is all one level and it is easy for me to move around the rooms without falling over. There are bars in the shower and next to the toilet so it easy for me to grab onto something if I loose my balance. An OT helped me order a trolley which I use to move hot dishes from the kitchen to the dining room table. I would have to say that my flat is disability friendly.

However, as I have mentioned before, I considered getting an emergency button which connects to a company that contacts an ambulance and your emergency contact. I went through the Glen Iris council to get the button set up and they were pretty efficient in having someone come to the flat to go through the paperwork. While the woman and I were going through the paperwork I mentioned that I was having difficulty with taking the rubbish bin out and bringing it back in the next day. The woman was lovely and suggested that someone from the council would be able to help out.

I was thrilled. I was determined to live as independently as possible without the help of family and friends. To have someone come in twice a week to help me with the rubbish was bringing me closer to my dream and it did come true. For a while that is. Every week a woman would come in, wander down my drive way and take my rubbish out to the street and the next day she would come to bring it back in.

What’s the expression…all good things must come to an end? Well, sure enough, the people in the flat opposite me began to renovate and the workers put heavy rubbish in the bin making it impossible for the worker to take it out. She became concerned about occupational health and safety and so did her manager. Her manager kindly asked me if I could seek alternative help rather than rely on the council, and me being a person who likes to please others agreed to this.

My cleaning lady is able to take the rubbish out a day earlier that needed, so I have help for that but I still have to bring the bin back in. Picture this, the frame in one hand in front, and the bin in the other hand, dragging along behind me. Yes, you can laugh if you want.

As an advocate, if a client was going through a similar situation I would call the council and emphasize the importance of having this support in place and portray the client as heavily isolated and unable to get help from a friend or family member. But when it comes to me, I shy away from confrontation and am holding back from pushing the envelope.

It’s truly amazing how I am capable of helping others when I put on my work hat, but as soon as I take it off at the end of the day I become a completely different person. Maybe it’s time for me to wear my working hat after hours.

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3 thoughts on “The trials and tribulations of living independently

  1. Hi Tully,
    join the club, it is definately easier to advocate for everyone else!
    I presume you mean Glen Eira council, I think you should get on to them again, bins and walking frames are becoming quite a problem in our municipality. If you dont tell council, nothing will change for others as well as your self.
    Who brings in the old lady’s bin, perhaps they may help with yours as well.
    You could also have a word with council about the misuse of your bin by tradesmen, worth a try.
    I think I have my Glen Eira DRC hat on, it makes me angry when any of us loose services, especially if they were put in place by council. 😦
    Keep pushing — Anne

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