This week, I have been writing about nursing homes. One of my biggest fears is that I might have to live in a nursing home. I would be devastated if I had to live in a nursing home. As someone who lives with Cerebral Palsy, my independence is important to me.
I moved out of my parent’s house at 20 years old. I live with my PCA. My PCA allows me to be able to live on my own. I don’t have to do everything on my own to be independent. I can direct my care. Independence to mean means having control over how things are done. I am allowed to choose my meals and make my own decisions. Non-disabled adults don’t have somebody making everyday decisions for them. Cerebral Palsy doesn’t mean that I can’t make my own decisions. I knew I wanted to be as independent as I could.
I didn’t start to think about living on my own until I was 18 years old. Most 18-year-olds are thinking about living in college dorms or apartments, usually with a roommate. I was no different. I knew that I wanted to live with a roommate who would be my personal care assistant. I couldn’t live independently without the help my PCA provides on a daily basis.
For a long time, I was unsure if I’d be able to live independently in my community. Living in a nursing home was not what I wanted my life to look like. If I lived in a nursing home, I would become more dependent on people, the opposite of what I want. Nursing home residents don’t have access to food around the clock or the freedom to choose when they leave the facility. If you live in a nursing home, you don’t get to choose what you want for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You are limited to what the nursing home has prepared.
Because I live on my own, I can have my friends and family visit whenever I’d like. Nursing homes usually have specific visiting hours. The first day I spent in my apartment, my friend came over that night to watch a movie. In a nursing home, this wouldn’t have been possible.
Disabled people should have the freedom to live in their own homes. Being disabled shouldn’t automatically mean that someone is forced to live in a nursing home. Living at home is right that all people should be able to enjoy. Home is where people can be themselves. Disabled people are people too.