My name is Rebecca and I am an Occupational Therapist in the Assistive Equipment team at the ILC. I cover the South West region of WA as part of the ILC’s country service. The country service gives people who live outside the metropolitan area an opportunity to talk to an Occupational Therapist and get information and advice about equipment that can help them to live independently. It also gives them an opportunity to trial some equipment.
I completed an eleven day trip in July. This was my first trip that took place over a longer period of time. I was quite excited about visiting lots of lovely towns in the South West, some of which I had never been to before and also about the fact I had a lot of things planned with an opportunity to meets lots of people. I am not a fan of cold, rainy weather however and had my concerns about doing a trip during winter. It all went well though and although it was very cold we got lots of sunny, dry days which made me very happy! We had a busy schedule and each day involved meeting members of the public and also service providers and other therapists. We started in Bunbury then visited Busselton, Margaret River, Augusta, Boyup Brook, Donnybrook, Balingup and ended the trip in Collie before driving back to Perth.
Some days consisted of setting the caravan up in towns. We set the caravan up outside the Senior Citizens Centre in Bunbury, Busselton and Collie, outside the Community Resource Centre in Boyup Brook and outside the Silver Chain Day Centre in Margaret River. All the staff were very helpful and made us feel welcome. We met lots of lovely people who visited us at the caravan and who had different types of enquiries with regards to equipment needs. Some days were quieter than others particularly on the very cold days but generally there was a lot of interest. The Travel Scoot, which is a small foldable scooter, seemed to catch the eye of many people walking by which resulted in quite a few trials. I became very good at folding it after showing many people how to do so! Another piece of equipment that was very popular was the Ucello kettle. Being lightweight and tilting it is great for anyone having difficulty lifting a standard kettle perhaps due to arthritis and other conditions that might cause pain or a reduction in movement or strength in the upper limbs. I noticed I was printing information on this product from the ILCA National Equipment Database on many occasions during the trip. People were very keen to find out the details and where they can buy it from!
On other days I was lucky to have been able to arrange to attend various groups. I attended an information support group with the Neurological Council of WA in Bunbury, a seniors group at the Silver Chain Day Centre in Margaret River and a carer support group in Augusta. All groups were very well attended and I was made to feel very welcome. I began with a presentation to inform people about the services that ILC offer and how easily people can contact the ILC for information and advice. I then showed a variety of assistive equipment and people were able to trial equipment if they wished. We also had some good chats about equipment that may help each individual person or their loved one to be more independent. On some occasions I left Rob the ILC driver holding the fort with the caravan whilst I attended the group. Some times afterwards there was a rush of people wanting to look through the caravan at a bigger range of equipment so it was great that with Robs help and patience we were able to have the caravan all set up and ready!
I also attended an event in Balingup at the Recreation Centre and in Donnybrook at the Retirement Village. This went really well thanks to Deb Vanallen from The Shire of Balingup/Donnybrook and Miranda Harrison from Community Home Care who organised these events prior to the trip and invited local seniors along. We combined both days with a caravan set up outside and a presentation and display inside. They also put on a lovely morning or afternoon tea and a sausage sizzle. Both days were really enjoyable.
The trip went really well and I look forward to my next one.