Breaking barriers: home is where the heart is

My name is Raux, and I have a disability. This is the sixth in a weekly series about living with a disability in a community like Cranbrook

My name is Raux, and I have a disability. This is the sixth in a weekly series about living with a disability in a community like Cranbrook.

Your home is your sanctuary, where you can leave the rest of the world on the welcome mat; it can be difficult to nest and truly make a home yours in a rental. My own goals include building a home that is suited to my needs and design aesthetic. In the meantime, I am working hard to save up and plan for the day I will reach this dream.

Renting: In Cranbrook there are only a few places that offer wheelchair accessible suites – Abbott Gardens, Sonja’s Gardens and Baker Gardens. You can apply for these through the Canadian Mental Health Association. If you are lucky, you may find houses or apartments that will work as is or require minor adjustments. Landlords can be very understanding and accommodating if you don’t require major renovation.

Buying: Accessible homes needing no adjustments are few and far between in our small community, especially as one person’s needs may not be the same as the next person. If you find one, consider carefully the costs to renovate other homes before passing it up. Barrier-free, wheelchair accessible, elevator and walkout are key words that can make a home stand out from other listings and let you know that there is an accessible entry. From there you can determine if the layout offers enough space for your furniture and equipment; the bathroom may be the deciding factor, as changes could be minor or major.

Social housing: Creating a community of people that have the need for support, understanding and accessibility. We all worry about things in our lives: things we have to do, things we plan to do, things we cannot control. One thing we shouldn’t have to worry about is the care of our loved ones who have special needs. We carry this worry our whole lives, their whole lives, and we may have to trust that strangers will care as much for them when we can no longer manage on our own.

It is not only my dream to build my own home but I would also like to build a home for my community that includes private accessible suites with shared common areas on the main floor and private suites upstairs for live-in care aids. I want this to be a home, not a facility. I’d like to take away the burden of worry by creating an environment to grow old in your home—this model can also work for hospice care and/or accessible travel accommodations.

Independence is important for everyone and sometimes we only have it for a short time. This idea of social housing would allow people who want the privacy of their own space with the security and flexibility of having help when you need it, not scheduled weeks in advance when you assume you’ll need it. Creating a community of others that would benefit from this system allows them to combine and share resources that they would otherwise have to manage on their own and their care aids would have to supplement their income with other clients if one person alone cannot guarantee full-time hours. Having neighbours who understand each other’s challenges creates a built-in support system as well, should they choose to participate.

Pets: The value of a companion is priceless, particularly for people that are shut-in. I understand why landlords often refuse pets; however, exceptions should be made in some cases. I have no problem paying a deposit or signing an agreement to cover any damage caused by my pet while I’m living in their rental unit. I honestly believe any and every responsible pet owner would agree with me on this. If they, like me, feel their pet is the exception and has never/will never cause damage to the property then why not put your money where your mouth is and agree to take full responsibility? Would a prescription recommending this is in the patient’s best interest make this more acceptable?

Home is where the heart is. We may struggle at times to find our place in society and having your own little corner of the world to recharge is a necessity. Independence is something we often take for granted; from when we learned to tie our shoelaces to getting your first apartment, nothing is more exhilarating than doing something on your own because you can.

Sincerely, Raux

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

City of Cranbrook, Ktunaxa Nation to host flag ceremony on National Indigenous Peoples Day. (Corey Bullock file)
City of Cranbrook, Ktunaxa Nation hosting flag ceremony on National Indigenous Peoples Day

A temporary road closure and speed limit reduction will be in effect during the ceremony

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

Cranbrook Arts has opened the doors of their  new gallery space to the public with their inaugural exhibit, Kootenay’s Best.
‘Kootenay’s Best’ opens Cranbrook Arts’ new gallery

This exhibit has been in the works for the past several months and features the work of more than 50 emerging and established artists from across the Kootenays

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Pictured are Tyler McNaughton and Sacha Bentall. The husband and wife duo owns and operates Cutter Ranch in Fort Steele. (Zoe Ferguson Photo)
Farm Life: Where food comes from

A chat with Cutter Ranch

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Most Read