Peter cultivates independence as capacity grows
LIKE THE PRIZED CACTI ADORNING HIS SUBURBAN ADELAIDE YARD, PETER’S CAPACITY CONTINUES TO GROW.
A self-professed green thumb, Feros Care participant Peter’s commitment to cultivating his garden is just another step in regaining his ability to get out and live life to the fullest.
“I have hundreds of cacti and growing them and giving them to people is my main hobby,” Peter said.
“I like experimenting, and I have geraniums which are six-feet-tall. Getting out into the garden keeps me busy, and it’s a lot more accessible now.”
Growing up playing football and loving to exercise, Peter was no stranger to being outdoors and on the move until his late 30s, when diagnosed with Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP).
Once easy, the likes of gardening became gradually more challenging, as the degenerative disease which affects the use of Peter’s legs worsened to the point where he was permanently using a wheelchair.
Unable to enjoy family outings or access the community safely, Peter could no longer commute into the city, and would wait in the car while his wife Eileen did the shopping. Peter’s mobility challenges around the house also resulted in a history of falls and injuries including a broken ankle and broken wrist.
HOW THE NDIS IS HELPING TO CHANGE LIVES
However, that all changed for the now 63-year-old when he gained access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which he said has completely turned his life around.
“Feros Care came down to our house to do my first plan and they asked what my goals were, and I said ‘I’d love to get a wheelchair and get out and about again’,”, Peter said.
“It was custom made and after getting it, I was able to go out with my family and Eileen.
“We used to get onto the train and go to town, but I hadn’t been into the city in years. Now with the train, we can go in and roam around and come home the same way.
“I wheel around the oval near home every morning for exercise to keep my arms strong and when we go shopping, I no longer sit in the car, and it’s me asking Eileen to keep up.”
Eileen, who Peter said was “under the pump previously”, is also loving the changes brought about through NDIS funding.
Enjoying the ability to do things together, Eileen said it was wonderful to be receiving the support.
“It’s made a huge different in Peter’s and our family lives and it’s great that we can go out together now,” she said.
Since receiving his wheelchair, Peter has gone from strength-to-strength, with ramps added to the front and back of the home to ensure easy access to the oval and exercise.
Peter’s plan has also given him access to assistive technology supports, which he said provides a high level of mobility and safety.
Using a four-wheeled walker around the home and in the yard, Peter’s prized possession may now very well be his NDIS funded electric reclining chair, which provides him with the right levels of support and comfort.
“I used to sit in a chair and couldn’t get out, but now with the new chair, I push the button and up and away I go,” he said.
Gaining access to occupational therapy which ensures his needs are met, Peter also receives support for his yard maintenance, ensuring the work he puts in continues to see his garden sparkle.
HOW OUR LACS ASSIST PEOPLE TO REACH THEIR GOALS
During a recent plan review with Feros Care Local Area Coordinator (LAC) Luciana, Peter set goals to take the next step in increasing his independence.
“I was so grateful I was able to access the things I needed through the help of Feros Care,” Peter said.
“And I recently spoke to Luciana about having my next plan self-managed so I can try to fund some hydrotherapy and physiotherapy sessions through services near my home.
“She was very helpful and said if self-management isn’t working for me, she can help change it back, so she’s been really good.”
While Peter’s short-term dream is to be able to spend time with his grandchildren in the flesh and head out for dinner or do a bit of shopping when restrictions in the current climate continue to ease, he’s not too worried about setting expectations for the long-term.
Outside of hoping to see his beloved Port Adelaide Power win its first Australian Football League premiership, Peter said he was happy to go with the flow.
“You miss going out for a meal and I’d love to give my grandkids a big kiss, but at the moment, I’m just happy I can get up, get in the chair, and away I go,” he said.
“The NDIS has just made such a huge difference to my life.”