The $25,000 Garbage Can

July 2, 2013 by  
Filed under On Life and Living

The $25,000 Garbage CanHow much would you pay for a little extra independence?  More specifically, how much is it worth to you not to have to ask someone else to finish tasks that you begin?

For stroke victims and their caretakers, increased independence is worth a lot.  Eliminating the frustration of asking for help is a goal of the highest order.

As primary caretaker, I am acutely aware of just how often Jessica needs help.  When she wants something, her phrase of choice is “hey honey.”  It is a phrase that I hear a hundred times a day, and one that has come to mean “I need you to come over here and do this for me.”

Jessica is relatively unaware of just how often she utters the words “hey honey”.  In her mind, she only says them whenever she feels uncomfortable about completing a task.  As far as she is concerned, asking for help is a one-time event.  Her mind is surprisingly detached from the fact that she needs help so often.

One of the most frustrating “hey honey’s” of the day comes immediately after she begins the dishes.  Lacking the mobility to carry each plate to the garbage can, everything is scraped onto a paper towel and placed right next to the sink.

The reality of stroke recovery is that movement is more difficult.  The loss of dexterity in the stiff hand makes it harder to walk a plateful of table scraps over to the garbage can.  It just isn’t worth the risk of a major mess all over the floor.

Washing the dishes is one task that Jessica can do independently.   Being able to throw out the garbage herself would advance her to “total independence” in cleaning up the counter.

Small things like this make a big difference in life.  The possibility of eliminating this one “hey honey” would be massively empowering.

A kitchen remodel generally begins with annoyance at one or more characteristics of the way we currently handle preparing food and/or cleaning up.  In our remodel, we’ll be installing a pull-out garbage can next to the sink.

The average kitchen remodel in our area costs over $25,000.  While I don’t anticipate spending quite that much on a new kitchen, it is a good number to consider when putting a value on increased freedom.

Is it worth $25,000 to be able to do a little more in the kitchen?  If you’ve experienced the frustration of inability, then the answer is certainly “yes”.


Read more about our kitchen design project:

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