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Spinal Cord Injury Community

Caregiver Contest Finalist Cindy: Traveling with a Wheelchair

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
09/25/18  2:09 PM PST
Traveling with a Wheelchair

Cindy H. is from California, and was one of forty finalists chosen out of the over 1,000 entries to our “What Advice Would You Give to a Fellow Caregiver?” Contest. You can find our grand prize and runner up winners here.

What advice would you give a fellow caregiver?

Caregiving is a journey. It is important when taking a journey to map out, plan and talk to those who have gone before you. As a new caregiver for my mom, 23 years ago, I was blessed to have those who had gone before me shed some light on my path. Their encouragement, tips and resources helped me stick out the journey for the long haul.

The number one tip is don’t go it alone. Connect with others. Call a family member or friend. Go to a support group. It may take visiting a few until you find one that is the right fit. If you’re stuck at home there are many online options or phone conferences. Also, don’t expect others to know what you need. Go ahead and ask. Yes, it is humbling, but you’ll be glad you did.

Another key to sticking it out for the long haul is taking care of yourself. Proper diet, exercise, and rest are important. Be sure to take time to refresh yourself. Stepping outside to watch the sunset or listen to the birds does wonders.

Investigate what opportunities are out there. Many organizations provide caregiver symposiums, respite time, help you navigate through getting equipment you need and more. Some beaches have free beach chair rentals or walkways to help get closer to the water. Often a caregiver gets free admission or rides as an attendant. I got to go in free at the San Diego Zoo with the purchase of the upgrade. They have a van inside the park to assist going from spot to spot, too!

Where there is a will there is a way. My mom is non-ambulatory. She is in a power wheelchair and requires a lift to transfer her. I don’t let that stop us from traveling. We do road trips and have been to her favorite place, Hawaii, several times. If driving, I take all the equipment with us. If flying, I bring what I can. Did you know a medical suitcase is free of charge? Then, I rent large items. This must be done in advance. For transportation we take shuttles, take paratransit, a bus or walk. If you qualify for Access, it is good in all 50 states, you just have to call and fax your eligibility. Then follow their rules and don’t forget your card.

I have enjoyed my time with my mom. Yes, it is hard and getting harder. However, the moments we have our loved ones are precious and can’t be recaptured once gone. Caregiving is a journey worth taking and there are many rewards.

Click here to head to the contest home page and read more advice.


Finalists were selected by the Marketing Team at Shield HealthCare. Those finalists were submitted to a panel of independent judges who picked three grand prize winners and five runners up. The judges included: Sandra Mitchell, Award-winning KCAL 9 news anchor and breast cancer survivor, and the Landers family: actor and comedian David Landers (“Laverne & Shirley”) who is living with MS, his wife Kathy and his daughter Natalie (“The Middle”). Click here to learn more.

For more information, see related articles and caregiver and spinal cord injury resources here:

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