My is Wanda Aanderud, I acquired my
disability on my 23rd Birthday after diving off the dock at Nelson-Carlsen Lake
and injuring the C4-C5 vertebrae levels of my spinal cord. Following two surgeries at St. Joseph’s Hospital
in Minot and being transferred to Altru Medical Center in Grand Forks for three
months of physical therapy, I was placed in a nursing home.
I was a 23 year-old living in a nursing
home surrounded by people three times my age. There was no one to socialize
with besides the staff at the nursing home. The nursing home did not offer
social or recreational activities for the residents. The only social engagement I was really
exposed to was a weekly residential gathering to watch the Lawrence Welk show.
The lack of social opportunities made me feel lonely and depressed at times.
When I found myself feeling this way I would seek peace at the courtyard
outside. This allowed me to get away and gave me a moment to escape all of the
noise and offensive odor of the nursing home.
I remained in a nursing home for over a
year, until my parents discovered Options, Resource Center for Independent
Living. I remember my parents and I meeting Jay. He drove us around town and
helped me find housing in the local area. I transitioned out of the nursing home
into my own apartment the summer of 1993. After I transitioned, my aid Sheila
really pushed me to do as much as I could on my own. Jay, Sheila and my parents
are the reason I am out of a nursing home and continue to live independently in
the comfort of my own home.
Had I not transitioned, I probably would
not be alive today, or if I was I would be extremely bitter, depressed and
unhealthy. I lost a lot of freedom living in the nursing home. They controlled
my healthcare insurance which resulted in loss of coverage. They controlled my
nutrition, visitation, medical care, recreational activity and social time. My
transition experience allowed me to regain my Independence.
Today, I live at the ASI building in Minot
and have resided here since the summer of 1997. I am actively involved in the
community and have been a member of the board at Independence, Inc. for the
past four years. In my spare time, I
enjoy reading, being outdoors, socializing with people in the local area,
visiting the Roosevelt Park Zoo, going to the Dakota Square Mall, volunteering
at my church, participating in my local life leadership chapter and assisting
with the annual Trunk-or-Treat event in town.
I now enjoy a fulfilling life in my own
home with my good friend Connie and other acquaintances in the building. I also
have wonderful aids that visit me daily to assist with essential cares. This is
all thanks to Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and nursing home transition