The power of positive attitude

We all like to think we have a positive attitude but for Michelle it has become a way of life. Despite the challenges life has thrown her way, Michelle continues to live life to the full.

Michelle was born with a bilateral vision impairment and, although she had some ‘cross-eyed’ vision as a young child, her vision soon deteriorated. An operation at the age of nine revealed severely damaged nerve endings which meant it was too late to correct her vision and Michelle has been legally blind ever since.

Fiercely independent and blessed with a wicked sense of humour, Michelle has since refused to let her disability keep her down and today lives independently with her dog Lucy and a much-adored gang of chickens.

“I need to be able to live independently and not rely on others … I have developed a really strong network of friends with sight issues and we support each other where we can,” said Michelle.

“What you get out of life depends on what you put in. Life has plenty of bumps and lumps along the way but you just have to get over those things … it’s an attitude thing.”

But despite her positive attitude, there have been times when Michelle’s quest for independence was seriously challenged and she needed some extra support to continue living life the way she wanted.

“While I was getting a bit of assistance from the local Council and my lovely neighbours, it wasn’t enough to help me do all the things I liked doing,” she said.

After a friend recommended lifeAssist to Michelle, she gave them a call and a Partnership Worker (Denise) soon visited to talk through all the available options. The first step was to secure some extra taxi vouchers to help Michelle get out of the house.

“I enjoy going to basket making classes, going out for tea or the theatre and so on but knowing when to get off a tram or changing platforms at the train station is a nightmare for me so greater mobility really lets me get out more and live life.”

Soon after, lifeAssist secured funding for a ‘Braille computer’ which improved access to her network of friends, enabled her to arrange dates and connect with the vast amount of information available on
the web.

Finally, Denise arranged for lifeAssist to subsidise the cost of Lite N’ Easy – a weekly delivery of nutritious frozen meals – to ensure Michelle had access to a healthy hot meal every day rather than the two hot meals a week she was receiving previously.

“It’s made the world of difference to me,” said Michelle. “Without support it is very easy to become socially isolated … I know people who don’t talk to anyone for days on end and are terribly lonely.”

“My advice is to seek help whenever you need it … just having someone come over and chat can overcome any sense of social isolation. A little bit of help can make the world of difference.”