After a spinal cord injury, one of the last things you think about is aging with a disability. You think about other things – what kind of wheelchair you’re going to get, what your career will be, will you have your own family one day, will you find someone who will want to be with you romantically. Getting old, and all of the side effects that come with it, is one of the last thing on our radar.
But aging is one of the biggest things we go through in life, and those with spinal cord injuries are not exempt. However there are loads of things you must take into consideration about aging with a disability. Everything from your skin to your overall strength is affected differently.
Here are three videos every person with a spinal cord injury should watch if they plan on living into their golden years (and you better plan on it gosh darn it!). People with spinal cord injuries are now living well into their 70’s and 80’s. It’s up to you to prepare yourself for aging with a disability.
The first video comes from one of the best disability channels in the world, Attitude TV. They have disabled newscasters and create disability-centric content. In this video, Aging with a Spinal Cord Injury, Curtis Palmer, a C7 quad, interviews five people with spinal cord injuries in Australia who’ve been injured for over 18 years, including his friend (and fellow quad rugby player) currently on bed rest because of a bad decision on his part (ignoring a scratch on his butt from a bad shower transfer).
And Curtis interviews a C5 quad who’s had to switch from a manual chair to a power chair at the 20 year mark, and what that’s meant for his life (including having to get a different vehicle). He also interviews a paraplegic school teacher who’s been paralyzed for 40 years, as well as Paralympian who is a firm believer in sport. Watch!
The second video is more of an educational-style video, but is just as important. It covers one of the most important things a wheelchair user should protect – their shoulders (which can take the brunt of so much we do). In this 1 hour video from the University of Washington, a clinician goes over all of the ways a person with a spinal cord injury can preserve their shoulders (which were not meant to be a weight-bearing joint). She also outlines the importance of staying active after a SCI when it comes to cardiovascular health. Watch her presentation
And last but not least, a 3 minute video covering one of the most important things a person with a spinal cord injury should know – how to prevent pressure sores, especially as you age. If you have a pressure sore for example, did you know you have to consume three times the normal amount of protein each day in order to heal your wound? Learn that and more in this video from FacingDisability.
It’s quite the understatement to say nobody likes to get old, but we do have control over how we age, even if we have a spinal cord injury. Aging with a disability can be graceful, and these videos set us get on the right track.
What changes in your body have you noticed since aging with a disability?