Why does almost everyone in the movies look perfectly healthy, while everyone in my life seems to be falling apart right before my very eyes? To answer my own question, I guess that’s because movies are one thing, and real life is something completely different.
In fact, if you are caring for someone with a chronic illness, you are not alone. Not even close. I would like to share with you some facts about the prevalence of disability in the United States. These facts were just released by the U.S. Census:
• More than 51 million Americans had a disability in 2002.
• The amount of disabled individuals in the United States is right around 20 percent. That means that statistically speaking, if you were in a group of five people, one of you would have a disability.
• Approximately 7.9 million Americans age 15 and older had difficulty seeing words in a newspaper, including 1.8 million who were blind.
• About 7.8 million Americans 15 and older, including 1 million who were deaf, had difficulty hearing a normal conversation.
• About 2.7 million Americans who are 15 years of age and older use wheelchairs. More than 9 million people use canes, crutches or walkers.
More facts can be found at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/disability/disability.html.
While I am not equating illness with disability, I maintain that many of the burdens of caregiving are the same. As you can see, you are not alone.
Maybe someone should forward this site to Hollywood.
Published On: December 20, 2006