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Transitions in Aging

Aging in Place

Scenario #2: Catherine

Photo of woman in thought, perhaps sad

  • Age: 68
  • Type of developmental disability: Cerebral palsy
  • Type of residence: Independent home (in the house she grew up in)
  • Difficulty with: Kitchen

NEXT: Scenario #3: Robert

Notes and References

Catherine is 68 years old and has cerebral palsy. She navigates using a power wheelchair in her home and when she needs to run errands out in the community.

Catherine lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania where her errands could be as far as 40 minutes away. Unfortunately, her husband passed away 2 years ago and she has since been diagnosed with depression. She currently takes anti-depressant medications that need to be filled once a month. Catherine hired a new support assistant when her husband passed away; the assistant comes three times a week and drives Catherine where she needs to go.

Catherine is not physically active and has poor eating habits. Catherine says she "has no motivation to cook like she used to," but she used to throw dinner parties for friends and family and they would rave about her cooking. Catherine's family members have convinced her to take up cooking again so she can resume the activities she used to enjoy.

Catherine, however, has experienced some changes in her vision and hand functioning and found that it is more difficult for her to use her kitchen. To help her enjoy cooking again, her family made some changes, they: (1) created a kitchen space for her to work while in a seated position, (2) placed more lights above areas where she will be working so she can see better, (3) put handles on cabinets instead of knobs for easier grasping and placed all of the pots and dishes in the lower cabinets, (4) replaced her stove with one that has the controls on the front of the stove so she does not have to reach over hot surfaces, (5) moved kitchen supplies to places that are easier for her to reach, and (6) put a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of emergency.