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Transitions in Aging

Aging in Place

Scenario #4: Lucy

Photo of a woman using assistive technology smiling

  • Age: 55
  • Type of developmental disability: Cerebral palsy
  • Type of residence: Moving in with family members
  • Difficulty with: Living room

NEXT: Funding for Aging in Place

Notes and References

Lucy is 55 years old and has cerebral palsy.

Lucy is single but has many family members living in Philadelphia. She currently resides at an intermediate care facility but is planning to move in with her sister. Lucy uses a power wheelchair that has a communication device attached.

Lucy used to enjoy going to sporting events with family and friends as well as visits to the beach. More recently, she finds enjoyment in watching movies and keeping up-to-date on her favorite sports teams through TV and the newspaper. Lucy often complains of pain due to contractures and muscle strain, problems that can create a "bad day." She has started to have seizures approximately once every three weeks. She is often confused, emotionally upset, and in pain after the seizure passes. Her doctor has discussed the possibility of starting medication for the seizures with Lucy and her family and she has recently agreed to take the medication.

Lucy's seizures are under control since starting the medication and she would really like to move out of the intermediate care facility. Since most of her family lives in Philadelphia, they all feel this is a good idea. Lucy is scheduled to move into her sister's home, which has a bedroom and bathroom on the first floor. However, some changes still need to be made to the living room area. There is a step up into the house and a step down into the living room, which Lucy's wheelchair would not be able to access. Some things Lucy's sister needs to think about changing in their living space include: adding a ramp outside and/or inside their home, rearranging the furniture to create a clear space for her chair, removing clutter and throw rugs, and replacing the carpet with hardwood floor, if possible.