My father, Richard Potter, enlisted in the Air Force and trained as a machine gunner on B17’s during WWII. Photographs of the “Flying Fortress” grace the walls of his room in the Kansas Veterans' Home in Winfield, Kansas where he has been living for the past 6 years.
For the first 2 years in the Veterans’ Home, my father used a power wheelchair for mobility and independence. But at the age of 82, with advances in his Parkinson's and dementia, his power wheel chair was taken away for safety concerns. He was provided with a standard issue VA manual wheelchair with no tilt or recline. His posture in that chair was terrible ... he was very slumped over and leaning to the side. Even his breathing was limited as a result of his poor posture. All he could do was stare at the floor. It was so disheartening to see him this way. I would have to kneel on the floor to see him eye-to-eye due to his hunched posture from Parkinson's disease.
In a fortunate twist of fate, it was determined that my father was an ideal candidate for a Broda chair. And as a vested veteran, he qualified for the VA to fund the chair. He has now had a Broda chair for over 4 years!
Since he's been in the Broda chair we can now sit beside him on visits and look at each other face-to-face. Being able to tilt back in the chair and look upward, he can enjoy watching John Wayne westerns in the VA lounge. He can even use the Broda chair when he travels by transport for dental appointments. He can stay in his chair for the bus ride and in the office, since the chair can be tilted enough for the dentist to work on his teeth.
In summary, the Broda chair has been a blessing for my father, his caregivers and my family. The Broda chair improves his quality of life and I can't imagine him not being in it over the past few years. We are fortunate that the VA will fund Broda chairs for veterans like him who need them.
There is no more difficult decision for a child to make. Bill’s mother, Isobel, had been a very active volunteer with the Toronto Junior League, the inner wheel with the Toronto Rotary Club and at Humber Valley United Church. But after 84 years of independence and productivity, the signs and symptoms of dementia were there. Bill and his family made the decision to move their Mom, first to a retirement home in 2004, and then in 2008, to West Park long term care facility.
As the Executive Director of the Canadian Assistive Devices Association (CADA), Bill Laidlaw is no stranger to the Canadian healthcare system. The experiences over the past 8 years with his Mom have further strengthened and personalized Bill’s position as an advocate for access to technology for the disabled.
Isobel now lives in a cheerful room, filled with photographs, plants and stuffed toys at the West Park Long Term Care Facility in Toronto. Her dementia has progressed, and Isobel is completely dependent on others for her care. “As my Mom’s condition progressed, she needed a wheelchair. After a few years, she was prescribed a rehab-style tilt wheelchair, but she was so uncomfortable – she would fidget and slide out of the chair,” said Bill. After several falls, Bill worked with the Occupational Therapists at West Park to find an alternative wheelchair for his Mom that would be comfortable and safe.
A Broda 785 Elite chair was selected to enable Isobel to sit comfortably. With infinitely adjustable tilt and recline and Comfort Tension technology, Isobel is happy to be in her Broda chair all day long. Isobel is comfortable and safe during meals, which ensures she receives appropriate nutrition and hydration. “Isobel is so comfortable and so content when she is in her Broda chair,” says Marion, her Personal Support Worker. “She enjoys going outside and around the facility in her chair. Most of all, she loves to hear me laugh.”
Bill visits his Mom several times a week. When Isobel is a bit unsure of her surroundings, Bill will chant the team cheer “Oske Wee Wee” from her beloved Hamilton Tiger Cats football team, or use her nickname (Timmy) to reconnect mother and son. Staying comfortable in mind and body is the top priority and Bill says, “What a difference now that Mom is safe and comfortable. It gives me peace of mind to know that she is sitting in a Broda chair. My only regret is that I did not get this chair sooner for her.”
Canadian Assistive Devices Association