If you follow celebrity news, you will already be across actress Selma Blair’s recent announcement of her Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis, a disease of the central nervous system that affects the brain and spinal cord. If you’re the type of person that tends to balk at celebrity news, then let’s just call this a timely reminder of the following:
Some people are born with a disability, while others acquire them. Some disabilities are intellectual, while others are physical; some are mental, others sensory – and some are a combination of two or more of these. Some disabilities can begin slowly in the form of chronic illnesses and conditions, or suddenly in the form of an accident or infection. Not all disabilities can be seen, and not all people with a disability are disabled or otherwise unable to live wonderfully fulfilling lives.
But no matter how someone acquires a disability, many individuals with a disability require extensive medical, physical and emotional support when faced with all the challenges their diagnosis can bring.
In Selma Blair’s case, it’s needing help with lifting her legs into her pants, pulling tops over her head, doing up buttons and being steady on her feet. For stroke victims, it might be assistance in communicating and moving around the home. Someone diagnosed with epilepsy might need home safety aids and personal safety devices.
It is important to understand that friends and family members with disabilities, chronic conditions and/or illnesses may require different levels of support at different stages of their lives, particularly if their condition is a progressive one. People living with conditions in their early or remitting stages, such as Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neuron Disease, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, may require little to no assistance in their daily activities, but more as their disease progresses or relapses. Equally, two people at similar stages of the same condition may desire different levels of assistance or maintain different levels of independence, and that is okay too.
If you or a loved one have recently been diagnosed with a condition or disability that means you require assistance with daily activities – short- or long-term; now or in the future – you may wish to look into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) eligibility and planning.
A great factor of the NDIS is that plans are reviewed every 12 months to re-assess the level of care required and/or desired by the participant. Because of this, it is important that you or your loved one thinks about the support and/or aids required prior to a planning meeting, since these will be in place for the 12 months. The NDIS have a wonderful checklist here to assist you with this.