Improving People's Lives Through Community

Improving People's Lives Through Community

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey is credited with saying "A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope within yourself." I am incredibly thankful for the mentors I have had in my life who have been a resource, an inspiration, and most importantly a beacon of hope in times when I desperately needed it. There is tremendous value in surrounding yourself with a community of people who can serve as mentors to you, are on your same level, and you can pour into as a mentor.

Recently I spoke with social worker Leah Frasier, MSW from Washington, D.C. about the impact and importance of community as related to individuals with disabilities and their caregivers.

Angie Kiger: Why is community so important for individuals with disabilities?
Leah Frasier: Community is extremely important for anyone, but is particularly vital to an individual with a disability. Feelings of isolation and like no one can relate to life's challenges are common for people living with disabilities and their caregivers. Building relationships with people who have been in a similar situation or are currently experiencing similar challenges can be life-altering. People innately desire others that can relate to them.

AK: Are there health benefits to having a community?
LF: Absolutely! Not only can people learn practical skills from each other, but they can also find hope in a situation that may have seemed hopeless. Other benefits may include a decrease in secondary disabilities or illnesses, an increase in overall mental health, and potentially a reduction in the likelihood of re-hospitalization.

Quickie Attitude handbike user with cyclist

AK: Depending on a number of factors including the ability to leave home, local resources, family support, medical status, etc., finding and maintaining a community for an individual with disabilities can be difficult. Do you have any recommendations?
LF: Participating in support groups, peer mentoring programs, and recreational activities may be some good options. The internet has also revolutionized how the world connects, including individuals with disabilities. From people with rare conditions from opposite ends of the earth meeting online, to local meetup groups on Facebook, to discussion boards, to blogs written by individuals with disabilities, the internet has provided a medium for people who may feel isolated to build a community for themselves.

In the spirit of community, Sunrise Medical recently launched a new website,, specifically designed to build community for individuals who use wheelchairs and their families & caregivers. Our vision was to create a place where people with physical disabilities, no matter the diagnosis, and their loved ones can access information predominantly generated by peers. The written and video content is intended to provide practical, educational, and potentially inspiring information. We have a team working to develop new content and recruit new contributors to keep the site fresh. homepage

In less than a month, the site has had thousands of visitors from all over the world. We encourage you to do the following to help us spread the word even further:

  1. Visit the website today at

  2. Sign up for the newsletter to stay in the loop.
  3. Share the site with your colleagues, clients, and caregivers via email or social media.

Do you know of a client, caregiver, or family member with an awesome story or insightful information that should be shared with the world? Direct them over to's Submit Your Story page.

Thank you for reading our blog! We love hearing from you, so please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We encourage you to leave a comment or send us an email at

Always remember at the end of the day, your client is your number one priority!
- Angie

Follow Angie on Twitter @ATigerKiger

Disclaimer: The contents of this blog are intended to be utilized as a general resource for clinicians and suppliers to then use clinical reasoning skills to determine optimal seating and mobility solutions for individual clients. Steve and Angie are unable to answer questions from members of the general public including caregivers and end users. Members of the general public should direct specific questions to their own clinicians, medical, suppliers, or other health care professionals.

Posted by: Date: 12/1/2016 10:15:31 AM
Filed under: angie, Caregiver, Resources
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