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PT and the Greater Good


Published January 3, 2012 4:13 PM by Dean Metz

I was working with an older adult the other day whose primary caregiver was someone with health problems of her own. The caregiver was feeling very down about her declining abilities and the need for greater assistance with the patient.

"I'm getting a new car next week," she stated. "Under the Motability Scheme, we're getting a car that can meet our needs."

"Well that's great!" I responded.

She looked crestfallen. "It's an automatic gearbox. I can't believe I have to drive an automatic." Of course being from the USA where manual transmissions are nearly extinct, I didn't understand her response. My look must have conveyed that.

"Automatics are for pensioners and disabled people!" She explained. "I know it's different where you come from, but here, having an automatic means you're not really able to drive anymore."

It is funny how such a thing can be viewed so differently between cultures. I never would've thought that driving an automatic has the equivalent impact of getting one's first invitation to join AARP.


A bit off topic, but another interesting difference I have noticed in the USA since moving here from the UK, is the use of axillary crutches. In the UK axillary crutches are regarded as 'old fashioned' and elbow crutches are much preferred by patients and therapists alike. It appears as if here in the USA, elbow crutches are recommended for patients with more severe/permanent disabilities?

Mareli January 5, 2012 9:54 PM

I know how she feels.  I was crushed when my first invitation to join AARP came in the mail.

Toni Patt January 5, 2012 6:42 PM

Wow, I must be ready for a wheelchair!  The world is better off with my being in a culture that has embraced the automatic transmission!

I posted on facebook last week about an aged woman I saw in KMart.  She shocked me and my hsuband.  She was 70ish with a plantinum blonde mohawk.  My first response was to gasp, albeit silently.  But, then I thought, why is that a big deal?  What makes me think a certain person should look a certain way - or in your patient's caregiver's case, drive a particular car?  

How much do we miss out on by arbitrarily assigning value?

Jane Goude January 3, 2012 11:09 PM

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About this Blog

    Dean Metz
    Occupation: Staff Development Specialist
    Setting: New York, NY – Newcastle Upon Tyne, Great Britain
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