Sometimes life has a way of putting some seemingly insurmountable physical challenges in your path, especially if you are in a wheelchair. I like to think of myself as a problem solver, able to sometimes “outsmart” the problem by thinking outside of the box. A time when I had to use this “I can do this” mindset was an Easter dinner several years ago.
Easter was two days away and the whole family was coming for dinner. If I was going to get the ham thawed in time, I needed to get it out of the freezer and into the refrigerator. I decided I could get the ham on the counter and I would ask my daughter to put it in the refrigerator when she visited that evening. Good plan; the only thing is my daughter came and went and the ham never crossed my mind. Now I had a real dilemma. The ham could not sit out all night and I was not expecting other guests that evening. Every time I tried to lift the ham from my lap to the refrigerator shelf, it would drop. Now it was time for some creative problem solving. To overcome this obstacle, I created a transfer board out of a cookie sheet. I put one end of the board on my lap and one end on the shelf. All I needed to do was slide the ham up the cookie sheet to the shelf. Voila! Sometimes we just have to go about things in a different way to accomplish the task.
MS has provided me with enough challenges to last a lifetime but it has helped me realize how difficult and exhausting even everyday tasks can be. Unfortunately, sometimes these challenges are not evident to the people around us. The suggestions presented in this article are an attempt to help families understand how they can help a physically limited relative or friend. Or, these thoughts might give you insight into how to become more self-sufficient.
TIPS TO INCREASE SAFETY AND INDEPENDENCE IN THE KITCHEN
MS has forced some of us to deal with issues of limited strength and dexterity, poor vision or balance, or lapses in memory. Any and all of these problems can make it difficult and unsafe to accomplish tasks that are necessary in the kitchen. In most cases, the longer someone can be safely independent, the happier they will be.
How families can help:
- Think ready to grab, heat and eat. If some Good Samaritan fixes a large quantity of something, have it stored in the freezer in individual serving containers. Then, it can be microwaved and eaten from the same container.
- Microwave diner plates with covers allow you to make a plate with multiple items and then freeze it. This would be a way for a family member to offer help. Just save a serving of each dish from a meal created for members of your household. Then, when ready to eat, it just has to be thawed