Anne is married to Dave who was diagnosed with MND (Motor Neurone Disease) 10 years ago. MND, leads to weakness and wasting of muscles, causing increasing loss of mobility in the limbs, and difficulties with speech, swallowing and breathing.
Since then, it has been Anne’s goal to ensure that Dave lives the best quality of life possible.
Here is Anne’s inspirational story; where she made exceptional changes to work towards her goal.
Unfortunately, Anne experienced some lower back pain, which made carrying out manual activities, some of which involved with Dave’s care, quite difficult.
After trying various treatment options, which would only give short-term relief, she discovered that walking regularly did the job to manage her pain. Not only did this help with her back, but also with her psychological wellbeing.
Ann knew that in order for her to be able to achieve her goal, she had to look after herself both physically and mentally. Simply walking regularly had already provided many benefits, but it did not end there…
Another factor, which is important for Dave’s quality of life, is the ability to go out on day trips. With Anne on top form, support from care staff and modified equipment you would think nothing could stand in their way…
Being able to access a toilet when needed is something that most people take for granted. Limited access to appropriate disabled toilets is a problem commonly experienced by Ann and Dave. This often limits their ability to leave the house.
Dave has very limited mobility and requires a hoist and the help of carers to get in and out of his wheelchair and on to a toilet. A standard disabled toilet is not suitable for him. He needs the cubicle to be big enough to fit Dave, his wheelchair and two carers, along with the kit they have to carry with them. It also needs to have a hoist so that he can transfer in and out of his wheelchair.
There are very few places with fully adapted toilets like this – only about 928 across the UK. In practice this means that Dave is reluctant to go out if he thinks there is a chance he may need to use a toilet. Often planned events have to be cancelled at the last minute because of this. When Anne and Dave drive to London to meet up with their children and grandchildren, the journey takes about 2 hours if there are no traffic delays and there is only one service station with a fully adapted toilet on the way.
This is an issue for adults and children with complex difficulties and prevents them and their families from doing ordinary things such as going shopping or going to the cinema. It also makes some essential things e.g. hospital visits very difficult.
On the 15-19th June, Ann is going to walk from West Lavington to Westminster, which is a 115 mile walk. The objective of this walk is to raise awareness of The Changing Places Campaign. The campaign aims to address the issue of limited disabled toilet access, and currently has a petition, which requires 100,000 signatures before the topic will be debated in parliament. On the 19th of June, when Ann arrives in Westminster, she will be met by a member of parliament, where she will hand over a letter in support of the campaign.
Ann’s story provides a great example of how she made lifestyle changes in order to manage her musculoskeletal injury and work towards her goal. Quite often we will discover that a treatment alone may not be enough for long-term results, and a lifestyle change might also be required. The approach of increasing walking time in daily life, is well known for managing weight loss and fitness, but is less known for cases of musculoskeletal injuries.
Having a meaningful goal made it easier for Anne to engage with regular exercise. Physiotherapy treatments are always goal orientated, as this helps the Physio and client focus their treatment program. It can sometimes be difficult to stick to an exercise program without a clear vision to work towards. In the end, Anne’s exercise program became a hobby, and opened up many other advantageous avenues, further contributing to her goal – ‘To enable Dave to have the best quality of life possible’.
If you would like to sign the petition please follow the link below:
If you would like to support Annes walk by either helping out with the support team or sponsoring her chosen charity, then please take a look at the following links:
Christie Resident Physiotherapist at Shine, Church Street.