Jürgen moves out

Some time ago I took part in an advanced training at Balance Hochheimgasse in Vienna and I heard about person centred planning. Angelika from a self-advocacy organisation in Vienna agreed to support me to start my very own future plan. I wrote some nice invitations, with a boat as a symbol for my journey to a better future, but unfortunately only two people, my sister and her husband, showed up at my first planning meeting, as the other people had no time or had already plans to go out drinking.

At the meeting, I said:

  • I want a flat, where I can live on my own.
  • to have personal assistance
  • to ride on a Harley Davidson
  • to cross the USA on a Harley Davidson

I prepared some snacks and we had Coke to drink. It was really good. We wrote everything I wanted down on a huge arrow and also drew the things I would like to do on it. My sister said she will go to a Harley Davidson meeting with me. Everything that happened was very nice and I liked it a lot.

For my second meeting I wrote another invitation, this time with a space-shuttle on it – again, to represent my journey, eight people came: Someone who worked in my flat share for disabled people, someone from my bowls team and even my custodian.

Things got more serious this time, we talked about me wanting personal assistance and how it could be possible. My supporters told me, I would have to give up my custodian, but he told me, that he would still be there as my friend and lawyer. I was really afraid. But I really wanted to fulfil my dreams so we arranged a meeting at court and I told them, that I could take care of myself. So now I don't have a custodian anymore but a lawyer!

In August my sister took me to the annual Harley Davidson Meeting in Vienna. There have been 20 Harley's. It was just WOW! A man approached me and asked me if I would like to try to sit on his Harley. I said OF COURSE! My sister helped me, and as I was sitting on this big machine, the man put my arms on the handlebars and I started the machine. My behind was vibrated, haha, it was great to sit on a Harley! After the meeting we went for dinner.

The next point in plan was: Work.

I was really happy to start a 1 year internship at the “Zentrum für Kompetenzen”, a self advocacy organisation in Vienna – my work is “person centred planning or other people.

The next step was to talk to a guy from “Wiener Wohnen”, a big company for renting out flats in Vienna. I told him that I wanted my own flat and when I visited my flat for the first time and I loved it from the very first moment. It is big. I have two rooms, two toilets, a bathroom, a kitchen and even a balcony! I invited people over for a party at my favourite Restaurant, the Kent in Vienna’s 15th district because I had realised three of my dreams: The flat, the work, the Harley. However I was worried because I wasn't really sure if I could organise enough money for the flat. The bank wouldn’t give me money, because it is too old.

I wrote a letter to a man working in the city hall and asked him if he could help. They were able to lend me some money which I can pay back in little steps every month. From that moment on I had my first flat! And I can organise it just the way I want – with pictures of Elvis and an own bar for my favourite wines! On the following Tuesday I went to “Wiener Wohnen” (Vienna Living) and paid for my flat.

A month later organised another planning meeting because I needed help with moving all my stuff to the new flat. My brother and my mom where able to help me, but my brother was kind of angry at me.

On December 23rd 2010 I got the keys for my flat after signing some papers. My brother organized my moving. Since the 1st of January 2011 I have been living in my very own flat.

In January 2011  I also filed a motion for “Pflegegeldergänzung” (money for care). I had to go to a psychiatrist but she thought I was stupid and that I don't know what personal assistance is. She thought that I don't know how many cents one Euro has. My motion was denied because I have a lawyer. But I did not give up! Living with home care wasn’t so nice and not what I wanted. They did not go out with me neither did they cook proper meals, just warmed up some microwave stuff.

Since the 21st of March 2011 I have been involved in a project with the University of Vienna. It is called “Assistenz” (assistance). The university often does projects with disabled people. Together with Andreas and Angelika from the self-advocacy centre I talked to the professor of the course and we organized a workshop for the students, to explain what personal assistance is about. It went on for two days and was a real success. Now I have nine students (8 women and 1 man) who are my personal assistants in the afternoon/evening. Now I can cook myself and go out whenever I want.
Still I haven't reached all of my goals, but I'm getting nearer bit by bit.
I won't give up!’

P.S.: Jürgen Vanek and his supporters made a wonderful video, which shows the problem of living only with home care and being denied to be able to have personal assistance. The video you can see here.

At the 24.11.2011 the money for personal assistance for Jürgen Vanek was finally approved. He has reached his goal after a long fight and had a party with his supporters!


The website of Jürgen Vanek, who is also a great artist (in German) http://www.juergenvanek.at/
Find Jürgen Vanek on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001155497937 )