When Christopher was hit by a car at eight years old, he was left with an acquired brain injury.
Despite the tragic incident, his Mum Christine says that he’s always been an optimist and never let his disability impact negatively on his life. At 30 years of age, after living with his parents his whole life Christopher was able to buy his very own home with the settlement money from his accident.
Wanting to live a young life, with freedom and independence, Christopher told his parents that he wanted to try living alone. He simply wanted to fit in and be a part of life, and for him that was living as independently as possible in his own home, rather than in a group home, a nursing home or with his parents.
Christopher was thrilled when he made the move, but due to his vulnerability, he was the victim of a horrific assault after living alone for only a short time. Sadly, after this Christopher was no longer able to walk or talk and needed 24-hour care, and so he was forced to remain in hospital for a very long time. Once again, he and his family were fighting for his independence. After a lengthy battle from his family to get him home, Christopher is in his own home again, receiving full-time care from his parents and in-home carers.
Now that Christopher is back living in his own home, his favourite things to do are to watch his nieces and nephews play in the backyard, go out into the community and be around other people. He loves his family, his carers and having the freedom to enjoy the outdoors. Over the years, the home that Chris bought has needed many modifications to make it more accessible and appropriate for his wheelchair and care needs. In 2017, Youngcare provided Chris with a grant to build a back deck onto his property.
“Now that we have a back deck, he can access the backyard. We have barbeques and family gatherings in the warmer weather and we can all go outside together. In the past he had to stay inside while everyone else was outside. My husband also built a pond out there, so he has running water outside and can enjoy the deck of a night time as well. It’s beautiful, it’s really lovely.” – Christine, Chris’ Mum.
Another addition to the house is the renovation of Chris’ carport, funded by Youngcare in 2019. Currently, his old carport is falling apart and offers little to no protection from the elements. It is also too small to accommodate his van, which he uses for transport to appointments and to get out into the community. As a very social person, Chris relies on his car to get out as often as he can, and has been forced to stay at home some days because of the increased risk this brings, not only to himself but to his family and carers as well.
“Having the access in his own home and to be able to come and go without being exposed to the elements is really important because we are always conscious of him getting sick and ending up in hospital. Chris is someone who loves to go out and will go out every day, so by having the van undercover and making it easier to access, the carers are not put at risk and he is not put at risk.” – Christine
Despite everything he has been through in his life, Christine describes Chris as a very happy person. To him, having the freedom and choice of being able to go out whenever he wants, is incredibly important for his mental health. The family also consider it extremely important to make sure that Chris’ carers are looked after and not put in situations where they could injure themselves. With both of Chris’ parents experiencing significant injuries from the manual handling over the years, they understand that every carer needs to look after their own body too.
“There’s not a lot Chris can do for himself, so just to be around others, to get out and be able to see different things is incredibly important.” – Christine
These small additions and modifications have opened up a world of opportunity for Chris; whether that is being able to socialize with his family and friends, celebrate Christmas and Birthdays with his nieces and nephews, getting out into the community or even just safely being able to access transport for his appointments without worry. It means that Chris can stay in his own home, and live the young life that he deserves.
“We want to keep Chris at home for as long as we can, after all he’s only 38. He doesn’t want to be in a group home, he certainly doesn’t want to be in a nursing home. He wants to stay at home, because it’s his home.” – Christine
Chris and his family are extremely grateful to the people who help fund the grants.
“These grants were a blessing in disguise that’s for sure. A huge thank you to everyone that puts this together it has made a world of difference to us all, it’s amazing to see. The grant has changed our lives.” Christine