Hello! My name is Evana, I volunteered to step in and cover the ILC Country Services Midwest trip in August 2017. I have worked for the ILC for over 10 years and aside from one mini trip to Bunbury, I’ve yet to experience the greatness of a country trip. The trip had a few hiccups before we left, but once we hit the road, it all went brilliantly.
This year’s second Midwest trip was built around the Mingenew Midwest Expo which has been running for 35 years. The event is well attended with people visiting from all over the Midwest region. The Independent Living Centre was located in a pavilion with many other family and leisure interest groups.
We had a range of interesting items on display, one of which generated a great deal of laughter and discussion, the Buckingham Bra Angel. We also spoke about the telephones with picture dialling options and the popular Uccello kettle.
The first stop on the way to Geraldton was Jurien Bay, to meet with a lovely couple where the husband wanted to review some options to help with eating his soup. We tried some new innovations ELIspoon and talked about the Liftware Steady spoon as options. He found success with a deeper bowl with a channel, Adams plate and an Asian style soup spoon, which his wife happened to have in her crockery cupboard. Sometime the simplest assistive technology solutions can be found at home, it just takes a little creative thinking.
Whilst in Geraldton (which is the furthest I’ve travelled north here in WA!), I was given a guided tour by Rob (Country Services Driver) to the key tourist points of the city. At the end of the day, we parked the trailer and had a chat with the Midwest Community Living Association staff. Our informal chat also included a play with some of the great pieces of equipment we’d brought along for the trip, such as the MemRabel 2, an audio visual memory clock with reminders, that led some good discussions about helping clients remain safe and independent in the community.
Whilst in Gero, I spent some time with the Activ Foundation and provided them with some updates about the ILC. We talked about how to use our National Equipment Database and the benefits of sharing this great online resource with their clients and families. There was a wonderful group in the Geraldton LAC office who were interested in current information related to funding, equipment and resources for clients in their region. We discussed using the ILC through Videoconferencing or Skype to provide on-the-spot equipment information. Many resources and links we’re shared amongst the group.
The final part of the Geraldton visit was meeting with the WACHS OT’s in the Midwest department, including a therapist from Carnarvon, who videoconferenced in to the meeting. We discussed looking at the process involved with children or adults needing car seats or restraints that are not Australian standards, including resources located on the ILC Hire section of our website.
Mingenew, which means the Place of Many Ants, didn’t bring an abundance of them, so we must have been doing ok in keeping our food and scraps out of the way. We set up in the Family Interests Pavilion at the Expo. The weather was drizzly but we had lots of people stop by, many who had met the ILC before and new people coming through to learn about the many great services we provide.
The trip on the way home was through Dongara past the gorgeous canola fields – the other side had fields of lupin crops waiting to bloom. We visited the Dongara HACC Day Centre and had a wonderfully engaging session with the visitors, all before their weekly Bingo session. Thank you everyone for your enthusiasm and chats while we visited the region. Until we meet again, hooroo.
Evana Jacobsen – Occupational Therapist, ILC Country Services: Midwest region