Independence for persons with disabilities this Fourth of July

Special accommodations may be needed to ensure that no one is left out of the holiday fun because of their disability. Photo: MSN Image Library

San Diego, July 3rd, 2013 – For many Americans accustomed to freedoms automatically attained through birthright or citizenship, it is sometimes easy to take those rights for granted.

In 1776, the estimated number of persons living in the United States was approximately 2.5 million. Today approximately 316.2 million Americans will have the opportunity to celebrate Independence Day, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It is difficult to fathom that the Declaration of Independence was signed by our forefathers only 237 years ago.

Of the 316.2 million Americans, approximately 1 in 5 has some kind of disability, and 1 in 10 has a severe disability.

The official Social Security Administration website indicates that there are “8.8 million disabled workers who are social security recipients.”  Further, they estimate that “Just over 1 in 4 of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67.”

The growth of the baby boomer population, which is oftentimes referred to as the Silver Tsunami, brings an entirely different paradigm which will greatly impact the issue of disability in America.  Approximately 10,000 persons turn 65 each every day, and this is estimated to continue for the next 20 years. Aging will have a major effect on the increasing numbers of those with disabilities.

Disability affects persons of all ages. Whether it occurs because of birth-related disorders, genetic predisposition, accident, illness, or aging, a person is considered disabled, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, if a person has difficulty:

– Performing certain functions, such as seeing, hearing, talking, walking, climbing stairs, lifting and carrying.

– Performing activities of daily living.

– Performing certain social roles, such as attending school, working at a job, or working around the house.

– If performing one or more activities of daily living, or requiring an assistive device to get around, or needing assistance from another person to perform basic activities are indicative of having a severe disability.

Having a disability does not mean you or your loved one cannot participate in backyard barbeques, community fairs, gatherings with family and friends, or viewing fireworks displays. However, it may mean that special accommodations will be needed to ensure that no one is left out of the fun because of their disability.

Special assistive devices, such as canes, tripods, wheelchairs, and lifts may be needed to ensure mobility and transportation. Caregivers hired through a responsible home care agency may be needed to assist with mobility and transfers if a family member is unable to do so. Transportation and van services can assist with travel to and from special events and outings.

Don’t hesitate to take advantage of community resources like support groups, respite care, counseling, financial assistance, and other services that specialize in your particular diagnosis. May all Americans enjoy this Fourth of July, celebrating the true meaning of the Declaration of Independence signed by our forefathers in 1776. If you are among the millions who are disabled, do not forget to celebrate the independence in you.

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities” columnist since 2011, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers.  Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.

In addition to writing for “Communities,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.

Copyright © 2013 by At Your Home Familycare


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Laurie Edwards-Tate

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California, was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging of America including the Baby Boomer generation, now being called the “Silver Tsunami.” It is the Baby Boomers who are rapidly redefining what aging and growing older means and looks like in America today.

Now celebrating its 28th year in business, AYHF is among San Diego County’s Top  Women-Owned Businesses and Fastest Growing Businesses, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service.  Edwards-Tate is a valued contributor to the public dialogue on current issues and challenges in the home care industry, and serves in leadership roles on the Home Care Aide Association of America Advisory Board and Private Duty Home Care Association Advisory Board, as well as the Home Care Aide Steering Committee of the California Association for Health Services at Home.

Edwards-Tate is frequently interviewed in the media on healthy aging, caregiving, and health care topics. 

 Follow Laurie and AYHF  at www.atyourhomefamilycare.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atyourhomefamilycare, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare

Contact Laurie Edwards-Tate

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