I know the blog has been a little more quiet than usual. Updates have backed up because after over 5 years of hunting, praying and the occasional virgin sacrifice, I have finally gotten my own apartment! Living in New York City where a roomy 100 sq ft studio can set you back over 1,000 each month, I had pretty much resigned myself to living with my mother until I was 60. But apparently, I had enough good karma stashed to get me a tiny studio that I can actually afford on my disability. Not having a car, or access to a van, I’ve been moving stuff one object at a time and everything has been coming together very slowly. Having said that…
Lupus Quick Tip: Think outside the box.
My new apartment comes courtesy of a program called Common Ground. It’s a supportive housing network created “To engage individuals who face the most difficult barriers to housing stability”. Mainly they help those who deal with chronic homelessness, however, that’s a population that heavily overlaps with chronic illness patients. Here in NYC, they also help house the elderly, veterans and those with low-incomes. They set residents with social workers and help keep them abreast of local resources such as urgent care or food pantries as needed. I’ve seen the same system for senior citizens and I think it’s a fantastic model for the young(ish) and chronically ill. The rule here is to encourage independence, but be accessible as needed. If I was rich, I’d build a network like this myself – but I’m thrilled to have found one!
If you’re looking for housing (or anything, really), don’t limit yourself to the obvious. See if there are any supportive housing programs in your area or any other alternative kinds of housing you can apply for. If you’re mostly fine where you are, see if there are ways you make your current space more lupus-friendly. They can be as small as getting a shower chair or installing support rails or as large as installing solar panels and putting in rain buckets to hold you over if you miss a bill payment or two.
Also, it can be helpful to reach out to a social worker and see if there is aid in your area that you may have access to. Yes, we all want to be as independent as possible, but living off cheap fast food because you don’t want to apply for food stamps or go to a pantry will do nothing to help your health.
In other news… Life Despite Lupus was picked by Healthline as one of the best Lupus Blogs of 2015! This will make it my third year being selected and I’m thrilled. Thanks to all you readers for being there. As it says on the Healthline blog, I do love to hear from you, so drop me a line if you’d like to share lupus-related news, are doing something awesome for yourself or the community, have an event to announce or have suggestions for posts. I’ve also had an article published at the Rheumatology Network website about medication – check it out!