I know some people are impressed that I am alive even though I live alone. Me too. But I do have a lot of help but not all people. My iPad and Dynavox and Allie all help me lots. Here’s a few things I do and how.
Eating- one of biggest problems but I do get it done. My iPad says I eat 1035 calories a day on average. I have 5 alarms to tell me when to eat. Mostly I live off ensure, Greek yogurt, think thin protein bars, and bolthouse farms drinks. Things I don’t need to cook and are ok sensory, and kind of healthy. On some days I use the microwave for frozen meals. I randomly get Starbucks, ice cream, chocolate, or Whole Foods kale salad with sweet potatoes when I need it and am able mentally.
Taking meds- I won’t lie, I struggle with this more than anything else called important. I have lots of alarms and checklists but it just doesn’t always work. There is a lot of steps to taking meds and if I’m trying anything else I just can’t work on all the steps, but eventually I take my meds at least once a day out of 3 times.
Going to the store. So this takes a lot. Before I go I use the checklist on my Dynavox to tell me when and where to go, and what I need. Then my iPad tells me how to get there. I need my headphones and a fidget. Allie leads me there once she knows where we’re going, and helps me get through the people, and leads me home. This can be an all day thing and sometimes I don’t even get what I needed. I try to make it 2 days and I do better, one day to plan and the next or so to get there. I never get more than 3 or 4 kinds of things at a time. I can’t carry much but more important I can’t process that much.
Taking public transportation. I avoid this, but it does happen because I can’t drive. So it takes lots and lots of planning and preparing before. On the day needed my iPad tells me how to get where the Dynavox says. It tells the times. Allie helps me focus on the stops and knows where I go the most. She also calms me if I get anxiety. I need all kinds of fidgets to help focus my senses , chew tubes, cars, music ,tangle, and lots of rocking. Sometimes I need to get off to breathe before I can finish.
Money. I am not the best at all but I am not the worst. I am not super good with money so what I do is when the alarm and schedule tell me to I use a app to show what I spent of the week money. And what I have left. If it’s $20 I leave my card in a safe place. I am used to being homeless with no money so I don’t mind. But if I have the card with me I will probably use it even if I don’t have it. Every week I have a friend that helps me see how much money I can use. I am ok at looking at the app before I leave but most weeks I use a little to much.
Cleaning. I am ok at this because I am OCD. I put everything exactly how it’s supposed to be. Which keeps my 6 dishes clean and bed made. Anything big like vacuum or laundry I don’t get done unless people tell me needs to and it takes me visual schedules to do.
So it’s not a lot but the ability to eat anything and keep my dishes clean and not stay lost for days, thanks to Allie and maps,is enough to keep me out of a hospital or group home. I am learning how to use Amazon for shopping which means not having to walk, get lost, or carry to much. But it also means I can spend more money I don’t have so I try to stay off. But if I can use food stamps to order food that’s a good thing because I can’t use to much. I also know to how to put on my clothes now, but I don’t always put on what I should or remember clean from dirty so I didn’t put it as a skill.
So basically I use lots of alarms on my iPad, the map, and lots of pictures schedules and timers and lists and supports from my Dynavox, and of course my service dog, and a sensory kit. And practice. So maybe these can help someone else.
And if anyone has other things they think can help do life skills please tell.