'I've never been in a space like that'

Thursday, June 23, 2011

CAMBRIDGE, Iowa  Since a 2003 car accident that left her a quadriplegic, Angie Plager, 28, has volunteered and advocated for people with disabilities, currently as president of the Iowa Chapter of United Spinal Cord Injury Association. Her work life is also devoted to helping people with disabilities, through her position with People for Quality Care, a division of The VGM Group. 

A "Care Cottage" constructed to showcase accessibility options at the Heartland Conference in June has gone home with Plager. 

Plager shared her excitement about her new accommodations with HME News.

HME News: What is your current living situation?

Angie Plager: My bedroom does not have an actual door on it. It's just kind of an open archway because it was just a family TV room. We just have the one bathroom in our house and it's very small. It's L-shaped, so I have to drive in and back out or back in and drive out. I'm not able to access the sink.

HME: What does this lack of accessibility mean for your daily life?

Plager: I've survived for seven-and-a-half years with all the help I've been able to have. But it has not been great for me to increase my independence, or to minimize the care giving that I need. It's really not that easy as far as stress level on my body because of all the transfers we have to do and how we do the daily routine. 

HME: How do you think it will be in your new home?

Plager: Amazing. I'm excited. I can try to imagine, but I've never been in a space like that. Even traveling to hotels and staying in accessible rooms is better that what I have at home. I'm very excited to learn and see all the possibilities. I'll have more time to work and volunteer and be able to help other people. 

HME: Before helping design your new home, did you know about all the options out there to increase accessibility?

Plager: We did do some remodeling to our bathroom so I was aware of some things that existed, but we were never able to have them because of money and space. We would actually have to remove an outside wall to our house if we were to expand the bathroom.