Greetings! My name is Barbara, and among other Oasis programs I have attended, I am a graduate of the Aging Mastery Program.

Over time, I plan to write a number of articles related to living as a disabled person. I am blind and have been for most of my life. It is my only disability. While I am aware of politically correct terms, I am not particularly focused on terminology. Going forward, I intend no offense to others living with disabilities who may have different preferences regarding such terms.

Blind person with her guide dog
Older woman and man or pensioners with a hearing problem

I am not an expert on living with blindness or other disabilities. I want to convey that most disabled people can live more independently. There are three key elements to this:

• First, you must want to be independent.
• Second, you must be willing to modify your life to accomplish tasks.
• Third, you must understand how to communicate this to the people around you.

You must truly commit to this thought process internally and externally.

There can be a wide range of modifications to consider depending on the specific disability and the extent of the disability. It is not always easy to make modifications, although it can be. There may be simple changes that make a big difference. The process can also be frustrating. Some changes involve a steep learning curve, and some do not. Some can be costly, but others carry no financial burden at all. Initially, change may set you outside of your comfort zone. But the bottom line is that modifying your environment and activities becomes easier once you make independence a regular part of your life.

I want to live the same way an abled-bodied person lives. Of course, there are things I can never do. I will never drive a car. I will always need help with decisions related to appearance. These are just a few examples, but the list of things I do on my own is extensive. I have some help, but not as much as you might think I need.

In future posts, I will not discuss anything clinical, such as medical care, physical therapy, medical devices, or medications.

I acknowledge that physical modifications for disabled individuals aren’t a one size fits all solution. It may surprise you that I cook using a range and perform other daily tasks that may seem unsafe for someone blind. In time, I hope to convey that such routine activities can be as safe for a disabled person as they are for an able-bodied person. I will never suggest modifications or activities that are truly unsafe.

I encourage others to join in this discussion and share specific ideas on how to live independently as a disabled person by using the comment button on this page. Remember that new ideas lead to solutions! Most importantly, remember that all disabled people are not the same, even if they have a similar disability.