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Related Words, Beliefs, Background

Worldview Theme #52: Independent Living 

             for The Sick or Disabled

alphabetical listing: A to K 

  alphabetical listing, continued: L to Z
accessibility--while in general the term connects with the extent to which some thing or service can be used by everyone, it obviously means different things to different people. To those with disabilities, it refers to the extent to which disabled people have access --whether it be an issue of those in wheelchairs being able to enter a building via a ramp, blind people being able to read something in Braille, the hearing impaired being able to "listen" to an oral presentation in sign language, etc.

adaptive technology--technology which allows disabled people to perform tasks that otherwise would be impossible and / or function more effectively.

assisted living for the sick, disabled, handicapped and elderly -- generally comes in the form of supportive housing with services and represents a middle ground between long term care in one’s home and institutionalized care. Ideally those opting for this would 1) receive care and supervision in a “home like setting”, and 2) have some degree of control over key aspects of the environment and to direct services -- which typically are designed to provide flexibility

central conflict -- the conflict between one’s real self and one’s idealized self (according to one theory of personality)

civil rights--a term whose meaning is very similar to civil liberties, but with different connotations. In the United States, in the last 140 years, it has often referred to the rights granted African Americans (by the 13th and 14th Amendments) and somewhat negated by Jim Crow laws in the south. A highlight of the so-called civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s was the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Other minorities have faced similar battles with mixed results. Women (hardly a minority in numbers!) saw efforts to enact the Equal Rights Amendment fail, while activity on behalf of the handicapped bore fruit in 1990 with passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act.  Efforts on behalf of gays and lesbians recognizing same sex marriages continue.  

disability--defined in the Americans With Disabilities Act as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity."

disability, different ways of looking at --While definitions of disability typically begin with identifying it as an individual condition or function which is defective, deficient or impaired with respect to some larger group's norm, often the perspective of whomever is writing the definition then enters and completes the definition in a particular way.  Thus medical professionals might add that such a defect can be rectified through medical intervention, whereas rehabilitation professionals would emphasize that it is to be treated through physical therapy.  Similarly, religious moralists might identify its cause with sin and its cure with seeking redemption, whereas secular humanists concerned about human rights might point the finger at society, even to the extent of connecting the disability's origin with labeling practices and its cure with the need for a change in societal attitudes and the manmade environment.

disability rights movement--seeks to improve the quality of life for disabled people by working to insure that they have the same access to participating in society that other people have.  From its beginnings on the UC Berkeley campus in the early 1960s, the movement's hard work culminated in passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act in 1990. The independent living movement--based on the belief that even the most severely disabled people should be able to live in the community, rather than an institution, if they so choose--operates within the broader movement.

disease -- involves breakdown in normal functioning of body systems, in humans, animals, or plants. If the disease extends over a long period of time, typically with symptoms that are long-lasting and progress slowly, it is said to be a chronic disease.

elderly care--refers to services designed to meet the special needs of senior citizens. These can include assisted living, in home care, nursing homes, adult day care centers, hospice care, etc.

envy -- painful or resentful awareness of someone who is more fortunate or enjoys some advantage

gene therapy -- by replacing defective genes with normal genes genetic disease can be cured. This new field holds promise for the future treatment of diseases with a genetic basis.

geriatrics --- refers to medicine pertaining to the elderly and disease processes of aging.

harm avoidance -- cautious anticipation of difficulty in certain situations results in people characterized by this to plan carefully, pessimistically worry, be shy, socially inhibited and sometimes avoid strangers. At times, such people lack energy to cope with situations that produce anxiety, so they passively retreat or hide from them altogether.

health care costs--in the United States topped $2 trillion in 2006, or over $7000 per resident per year--altogether representing 16% of the GDP. This latter figure is the highest of any nation in the world; for comparison Canada, which has a publicly funded health care system, spends 9% of its GDP on health costs.

health insurance-- protection against hospital and medical care expenses (and sometimes lost income) due to an illness, injury, or accident.  In countries with publicly funded health care systems or related social welfare programs, it is provided free or inex-pensively by the government. Elsewhere it can be obtained from private insurance companies. In 2006, private health insurance premiums cost the average U.S. family $12,106; 47 million people (16% of its population) were uninsured.

human rights struggles--what a particular minority or group discriminated against has to go through to finally win rights or be granted concessions / accommodations by the majority. In this regard in American history we can note struggles for 1) an end to slavery, 2) native American tribal survival, 3) immigrants' rights, 4) women's rights, 5) worker's rights, 6) child labor laws, 7) rights for the mentally ill, 8) an end to segregation, 9) civil rights, 10) affirmative action, 11) farm worker rights, 12) rights for handicapped people, 13) gay and lesbian rights, etc.

independent living for people with disabilities -- typically this means that affected people 1) have the opportunity and responsibility to make decisions and 2) can exercise their right to control their own lives.

inferiority complex-- originally the term referred to a physical deformity, difference or inadequacy that led to more general feelings of inferiority. In common usage today, the term refers to any sense of difference or inadequacy that has become magnified or generalized to assume a significant place in a person’s mind

insecurity -- lacking confidence and assuredness, feeling uncertain and unsure -- perhaps even unprotected and unsafe. Feelings of anxiety often accompany feelings of insecurity.

  mind / body connection --Wholistic health practitioners have long recognized this important connection, now increasingly traditional, reductionist practitioners of western medicine are realizing it as well. If the contents of one’s mind are unhealthy (anxiety-ridden, negative, full of blame, etc) it can literally make the body sick, or get in the way of its getting well. Similarly, psychological health, reducing stress, being upbeat, feeling loved, etc. can be linked to maintaining or regaining physical health. To underscore the importance of feeling loved / not being lonely, Dr. Dean Ornish writes, "I'm not aware of any other factor in medicine -- not diet, not smoking, not exercise, not genetics, not drugs, not surgery -- that has a greater impact on our quality of life, incidence of illness and premature death."

pain, physical-- an unpleasant or distressing sensory experience due to bodily injury, disease or disorder that ultimately can be traced to stimulation of nerve endings found on the skin or internally. It can be mild and localized, or agony affecting the whole body.  Pain lasting longer than three to six months is referred to as chronic pain.  

palliative vs. hospice care--the former refers to medical care / treatment that aims to reduce the pain and suffering associated with disease symptoms, the latter to such care provided to the terminally ill or those at the end of their lives.  Unlike palliative treatment, hospice care requires a doctor's prognosis. Neither is seeking to cure the underlying disease.

paternalism -- a system in which adults are treated in a fatherly way like children, with their conduct regulated and their needs met. Typically in exchange for this care, the authority expects loyalty and that those receiving the care will accept their relinquishing of personal control.

personal responsibility, accepting -- Before an individual can overcome some personal difficulty or solve a personal problem, he or she needs to acknowledge that the difficulty or problem exists, by saying something like, “This problem is mine and I must solve it”. In this context, taking personal responsibility means that you don’t ignore difficulties or problems, expect others to solve them for you, or shift the blame to others. In a family or social context, taking personal responsibility can mean voluntarily limiting your choices or restraining yourself for the good of the family, tribe, village, community or whatever. Richard Critchfield refers to this as “the freedom to choose self responsibility”.

physical therapy -- is administered to  help people move better. It includes several types of exercise, training and techniques that make walking and / or  movement safer or easier. It aims to increase endurance, make joints less stiff, treat muscle strains, strengthen muscles, reduce pain, and improve balance and coordination  . Techniques to treat pain and inflammation are also employed.  The four most common specialty areas of physical therapy are: 1) orthopedic, 2) geriatric, 3)  neurological, and 4) cardiovascular / pulmonary rehabilitation

prayer, therapeutic effect of -- while accounts of faith healers' successes go back to ancient times, many modern investigators have cited evidence for a positive therapeutic effect on the health of people who pray or are prayed for. Skeptics have dismissed this suggestion or attributed an improvement to a placebo effect. In an attempt to use scientific methods to measure the effect of people praying for the well being of individuals undergoing heart bypass surgery, a three year study involving church groups praying for 1800 patients was conducted. The results, reported in the April 4, 2006 issue of the American Heart Journal, found no statistically significant difference in the survival or complication rates of heart patients who were prayed for versus those who were not.

stem cell therapies -- offer the promise of curing presently incurable diseases, regenerating failing organs, and healing diseased tissue. The most versatile, and most controversial, such cells are from week old human embryos, which have the potential to grow into any desired type of human cell. These cells are typically obtained from unused embryos created for clinics where couples seeking in vitro fertilization go, embryos which supposedly would otherwise be thrown away. Use of adult body stem cells is not as controversial, but these cells (typically from bone marrow) are less versatile. (Bone marrow derived cells are only capable of developing into a few different types cells in blood or immune cell families.) Research continues, somewhat slowed by the controversy, and many hope that exciting new stem cell treatments will result from it. Others who have moral and ethical qualms, want to halt embryonic stem cell research altogether



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