Making a difference in Maria’s life

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A bathroom upgrade and a 100 metre concrete path have made a huge difference to Maria’s life.

Maria is a 48 year-old lady who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in December 2008, though looking back can now see that she had symptoms well before that. She lives at home with her husband Steven and 18 year-old son Declan on a family fruit block shared with her elderly parents.

Increased issues with mobility were causing two significant problems for Maria. Firstly, she was unable to shower independently; secondly, she could not visit her parents even though they were just a hundred metres away.

Maria came into contact with Intereach as a Define Participant with the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and this has led to major positive changes in her life.

Firstly, she worked with the Intereach Local Area Coordinator to determine her disability-specific goals that would help improve her quality of life. Maria said she needed home modifications so she could have full use of her house. She had been unable to shower herself for over five years due to mobility limitations in the bathroom, and therefore relied on her husband to support her every day with showering.

Additionally, for the past seven years Maria had been unable to walk to her nearby parents’ house to have a coffee and chat because the pathway was undulating and she was always fearful of falling over. Maria needs the stability of her mobility walker, which she has affectionately nick-named ‘Genevieve’, to get around. However, it needs a smooth surface.

With the support of Intereach and its LAC, Maria sought funding through the NDIS for both the bathroom and the pathway. Soon after she received a phone call from the LAC advising she had “an early Christmas present”, with approval for the bathroom modifications and a concrete path around her house and up to her parents’ house.

Modifications were quickly underway, with Maria effusive in her praise for the contractors and the way they undertook their tasks, saying they were “in tune with a disabled person’s needs”. She didn’t want her bathroom to “look like a sick person lives here” and that she wanted it to be “okay as a family bathroom that catered for my needs”. Maria described the result in one word: “Amazing!”

When the concreter built the new footpath, he added ‘glow in the dark’ marks to make it safe at night, and Maria has found it has physiotherapy benefits as it provides her with additional exercise.

It was an emotional day when her father Pasquale came to inspect the new footpath, in the knowledge that Maria could now safely walk to his house for a visit.

She is also delighted to be able to use her modified bathroom, allowing a level of independence that she had not known for many years.

Maria approaches life with a positive attitude and is extremely grateful for the efforts of the team at Intereach and the ease with which they have taken her through the entire NDIS process.

“Independence is important; it gives you more confidence in life,” Maria said.

“For four years I couldn’t get out the front door, now I can go for a walk and visit my parents. I am so lucky to have been gifted this by the NDIS.”

Photo: Maria with her Dad