Dr Naomi Blake is a young woman (43) with severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), along with brittle asthma, caused from a workplace incident in 2008.
This severe, inflammatory lung disease causes obstructed airflow from the lungs, paired with implications from her diabetes and medications, her mobility is severely impacted. She has also been diagnosed with early Functional Neurological Disorder, which introduces an array of further complications into the management of her health.
As a highly successful and motivated woman, Naomi had completed her PHD in Positive Psychology and was driven to assist those with mental illnesses to complete university and go forward to use it in the community.
However, with the deterioration of her mobility over the past few years, she is no longer permitted to drive a motor vehicle. By extension, she has found herself unable continue her work, facing both mental and physical isolation.
In the current global pandemic, Naomi has been confined to her home for the past year, limited by her mobility and the high-risk associated with contracting COVID-19. Unable to drive her own car and without access to a scooter, Naomi was segregated from her community.
“You feel like you are in a prison. People complain about 14 days in quarantine, but I feel as though I’ve been in it the whole time. It gets you down. You feel disconnected, and therefore you feel depressed.”
She had found herself unable to perform basic tasks that we all take for granted, restricted to the confines of her living space. Necessities, such as collecting a script from the doctor, required planning and money to organise a support worker to collect and deliver it to her. These day-to day-activities were suddenly an impossible feat.
“There are all sorts of things that happen in life, where people just pop to the shops, or do this or that – I just can’t do them now, it is way too hard.”
At various times Naomi has been recommended by health professionals that she should submit to aged cared and has required advocacy to be discharged back to her home. Naomi was determined, however, to not accept this, striving to gain the independence and freedom that she deserves.
“They have mentioned a few times about going into a nursing home – that is that last thing I want at my age. It’s very important for me to manage everything, to manage my health and do what I can. While my health is currently going downhill, it will happen a lot quicker in aged care.”
Not for a lack of trying, it took years for Naomi to be accepted on the NDIS scheme. They required letters from her specialist but would not provide any guidance as to what should be included.
It was a long-winded, exhausting process for Naomi – one which should be readily available to support those in situations like hers. This is where Youngcare stepped in.
With this At Home Care Grant, Naomi was able to purchase this scooter, which enables her to be self-reliant, fulfilling tasks which previously seemed impossible. As it is an enclosed scooter, her daily life is also no longer drastically restricted by external factors such as the weather, or her environment, with the vehicle allowing safe independent community access.
While this solution may seem as simple as purchasing a mobility scooter, it was the key to opening Naomi’s world up and giving her the choice and control to live with independence.
She wanted to express her gratitude to the generous people who funded the grant and enabled her to seize her independence and re-enter society.