Ultimate Accessible Apartment Living

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By: Tiffiny | August 1st, 2014 @ 1:59 am | Uncategorized |


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Leaving the hospital after a spinal cord injury is one of the most stressful things anyone can endure. Everything is completely different and you must relate to the world in a whole new way. This is especially true with your home.

For many of us, our favorite room or activity in our home is no longer possible, and it can feel pretty lousy on top of everything else we’re already dealing with.

For this post we’re specifically talking about accessible modifications in apartments – they’re some of the most popular forms of housing for many people with SCI, and there are many things you can do to an apartment despite being a renter. There are some great accessible apartments that come by default too.

Check out three of these apartments below, and some great DIY’s to help take your place to the next level.

Video #1: “Lucky Lady Crystal” Gives the Grand Semi-Accessible Apartment Tour

If you haven’t watched a video by Crystal yet, a spunky C6-7 quad, then you’re totally missing out. In the video, she gives a tour of her self-dubbed “semi-accessible” apartment located in a 200 hundred your old building where the kitchen isn’t quite accessible, but the rest of the apartment is.

The reason the inaccessible kitchen works is because her caregivers visit three times a day and help her with her meals. And in her bedroom, she has a barrier-free ceiling lift that carries her from her bed to her bathroom, right over her bathtub.  She also has a very cool modified tub chair that many quads will likely covet hard after seeing.

Check it out: C-6, C-7 quadriplegic gives a tour of her semi-handicap accessible apartment

Video #2: Quad Moves to Dubai, Adapts New Apartment

Meet Chris Colwell. He very well could be in the running for the most interesting man in a wheelchair in the world. A longtime resident of Florida, he moved to Dubai on a whim a few years ago, and in this video he gives a tour of his new apartment. Very interesting stuff.

Since he’s a renter, he couldn’t make many big adaptations to the apartment itself either. He did however do several small modifications – Chapstick on a string and tied to his bed in case he drops it, zip ties on the door handles for the heavy doors in Dubai (most are all wood) and a CD glued to the bottom of his cologne bottle to make it easier to pick up.

Watch: Quadriplegic Adaptations Part 2

Video #3: “Try Me” Accessible Apartment for Inpatient Newbies

Over in Australia they have a really cool thing going on for newly injured individuals who have yet to leave the hospital. It’s the CHOICES Apartment – a completely accessible two bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment, 2 bathroom, and it’s a beautiful piece of work.

This perfectly accessible home, from the lowered kitchen countertops and pull out dishwasher to the two roll-in showers, is part of Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, a great organization down under helping people with spinal cord injuries live independent lives.

Watch: SCIA’s CHOICES Apartment

It’s never easy getting your place ready for your new life post-injury, but we hope these videos give some insight into how it can be done, and that no way is the absolutely “right way” to go about doing it. Everyone has their own personal requirements of accessibility, and that’s absolutely ok.

What adaptations have you made to your apartment that have made a huge impact?

Watch the videos!

- Crystal, a C6-7 quad, gives a tour of her semi-accessible place

- Chris Colwell, a C5-6 quad, showing off the adaptations in his apartment in Dubai

- SCIA in Australia gives a tour of their accessible apartment for inpatient patients

SCI Superstar: Alexandra Santibanez

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By: Tiffiny | July 29th, 2014 @ 9:23 pm | Uncategorized |


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They say getting injured at a younger age makes it easier transition-wise, and Alexandra Santibanez certainly proves this is the case. A fashion model hailing from Miami, Florida and a motivational speaker and advocate for disability awareness, her injury at the age of five has barely slowed her down.

But what we especially love about Alexandra is her sense of style. Not only is she a model, but she went on to receive her bachelor’s in a field perfectly suited for the fashion industry, making sure she’s armed and ready for the future.

Brilliantly smart and the most fashionable woman on four wheels in South Florida, this is the outstanding story of Alexandra Santibanez.

Why she’s fearless

For Alexandra, life would have been completely “normal,” at least body-wise, had she not been in a fated car accident at the age of five. A woman in another car ran a red light, and she and her mom were hit. Both Alexandra and her mother had to be airlifted to the hospital after sustaining serious injuries, and when they arrived Alexandra’s spinal cord injury was not detected right away.

It took her mother’s keen sense of “something isn’t quite right with this child” to flip over Alexandra after seeing her pale face, and discovering a huge bump on her back; which ended up being a blood mass over her spinal cord at the T3 level. Alexandra was diagnosed with a spinal cord injury, and spent the next half year in the hospital, including her sixth birthday, completing the necessary rehabilitation for her age and level.

After returning home, Alexandra’s love of fashion grew over the years, and it eventually became something she was exceptionally good at. So good, that after graduating from high school, she went on to school to study for a degree in fashion merchandising.

Modeling however wasn’t always something Alexandra had her eyes on. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she was hired as a project manager for Miami’s biggest fashion magazine – Fashion & Entertainment Magazine – where she worked for two years. Afterwards, needing a breather from the tight deadlines and schedule, she decided if it was finally time to develop her career as a model.

What’s she up to now?

Alexandra first ran in a few local beauty pageants; no disabled pageants either. She won Ms. Photogenic and third runner up in the Ms. Cuba/American beauty pageant.  Next, she wanted to break into the disability modeling scene, and she targeted Colours Wheelchairs, a cool company that makes custom wheelchairs to fit the personality of whoever is in it.

After hobnobbing with Colours representatives at the Abilities Expo, she was asked by the VP of Colours a month later to be their new spokesperson, and she was on cloud nine. In addition to representing Colours, she’s also a model for purse-maker Candy Wooley, a designer from Miami, and she does modeling for automotive shows.

Most recently in fact, Alexandra sported her rockin’ pin-up look for the traveling DUB Show over the weekend in Miami, showing the world that even a girl with paralysis can look drop dead gorgeous on the hood of a car.

You go Alexandra. You’re changing the world with every photo you take, and we love you for it.

How has Alexandra inspired you?

- Visit Alexandra’s official website

- Like her on Facebook: Alexandra Santibanez

- View more photos: Alexandra1818 on Instagram

Watch her video!

- Alexandra Santibanez featured on Univision Primer Impacto