Sutherland Shire local Mark says Occupational Therapy and Support Coordination has opened his eyes to a whole new world of independence. First feeling the symptoms of Hereditary Peripheral Neuropathy in his early 30s, the now 66-year-old had always equated his physical and visual disability with being housebound.
“It’s like being under house arrest with this disability I have. I’ve got no feeling in my feet up to past my knees and my hands up to my elbows,” he said.
“As the nerves in your eyes are the weakest cellular and the first to be affected by this neuropathy, I also have a vision impairment called MacTel 2, which is a form of macular degeneration.”
Having been forced into early retirement at the age of 52, Mark was left feeling directionless. It was only when he first encountered Living My Way three years ago, that those feelings began to ease, hearing about the countless options available to him
“The main goal for me is to just be independent, and that’s the main goal in life, whether you have a disability or not,” he said. “The being independent part for me means taking a bit of strain off my life. I’ve been provided with so much from the Living My Way team. From all the services like cleaning, physio, fittings and modifications in my home, plus visual aids too, and I’m forever grateful.”
Over the past three years, the combination of Occupational Therapy and Support Coordination has allowed Mark to secure life-changing assistive technology, including a chair lift for his home, and a visual aid called the OrCam MyEye 2.
“The OrCam MyEye 2 is a little thing that goes on your glasses and it will read text for you. It will recognise places, it will recognise barcodes. You just put your finger up to text and it actually takes a photo of it and reads it to you. It’s given me so much peace of mind.”
While the visual aid was a piece of technology he had to fight for, he credits Living My Way with getting it across the line.
“When I first applied for a visual aid through the NDIS, I wasn’t down for any assistive technology, as I wasn’t qualified to have them,” he said.
“I appealed the decision and got knocked back, and even went to the NDIS administrative appeals tribunal and won that one. Living My Way had a lot to do with that. They supplied reports and email trails, and did a lot to make that happen.”
As for maintaining his independence, Mark feels like he can now take control of his disability and achieve his goal.
“When you have a good support coordinator, it makes it a lot easier to achieve your goals. The goals you set with the team can be achieved, because there is a professional team finding ways for you to get there.”