Enjoying the sights of London has been made a whole lot easier for Alexander and his mother Yvonne thanks to a ‘surprisingly simple’ TGA Powerpack.
Alexander, who has mobility difficulties, autism and a rare type of epilepsy, is helped by Yvonne, carers and support workers. Alexander loves visiting London and seeing the sites including Tower Bridge, museums and art galleries however being pushed in a wheelchair for many miles every day has taken its toll on Yvonne, whose back pain has worsened over the last few months. Thankfully, life for both of them has suddenly got easier with a TGA Powerpack and award-winning Strongback wheelchair.
“Only a couple of months in and our Powerpack has already made a massive difference to our lives,” Yvonne says. “Alexander and I tend to walk for eight miles each time we go out which is now so easy, I really don’t know how we managed before. Since getting a Powerpack we have never looked back. Life is now less restricted and our carers absolutely love it – they have been fighting to use it!
“Recently we have been walking more without using the bus or train,” she adds. “One of our support workers drives us into central London and we get the wheelchair and Powerpack out of the car boot no problem. Now with the Powerpack we are planning to go to Kew Gardens and a variety of other places of interest."
Alexander and Yvonne currently regularly walk along the Southbank taking in the sights including the Tower of London and The Shard. Now they have the support of the Powerpack they don’t need to take the long way around slopes and tricky kerbs. Their routes can include better ‘cup of tea and cake stops’.
“It’s great that we do not need to think twice about any uphill routes to get back and forth to our destination,” Yvonne says. “Alexander takes real interest in the things he sees including people. He notes what guys are wearing and how they have their hair cut so he can look the same. He has more recently started requesting new outfits including jeans. Being in London makes him feel that he is part of what’s going on. At the same time there are many quieter areas along the river Thames, which are ideal to sit and chill out for a while, whilst watching the boats go by.”
When Yvonne first heard about the Powerpack from her mum, she was initially sceptical and felt it sounded complicated. Nevertheless, she organised a safe home demonstration from one of the TGA assessors. “Danny was so nice and explained what the Powerpack did and how to control it in a really straightforward way, it was surprisingly simple,” she said. “He brought a Strongback wheelchair as well which was so much lighter than our old one and folded easier. There was no hesitation from Alexander, myself and our carers, we wanted both straight away!”
The TGA Powerpack consists of a motor, single or double wheel and battery unit which fits under an attendant controlled wheelchair. It drives a wheelchair forward and is operated by a carer with simple controls on the wheelchair handlebar.
“From my point of view it is a life-changer,” Yvonne continues. “I can now push Alexander without the worry of back ache. No more concerns about slopes or getting up kerbs, we can go where we want and are not avoiding places that used to be impossible to get to. I can see when we are back on the trains, getting up station ramps and along platforms will be much more straightforward. Alexander always wants us to go at a fast pace - more of a march for me. If we go too slow, he rocks in his chair and gets impatient. Thank goodness our Powerpack helps me keep up!
“Enjoying the fresh air clears your head,” Yvonne concludes. “These are very strange times especially if you have autism or you are caring for someone with this condition. The Powerpack gives us the opportunity to swiftly manoeuvre the wheelchair to a quieter spot, where Alexander can have some space. The Powerpack has given Alexander the chance to get more involved with the outside world, without a load of fussing over who’s turn it is to push the wheelchair. Our TGA Powerpack has now become so vital for us, I’m thinking of getting another one, as we certainly couldn’t keep up with our travels without it. I would definitely be both physically and mentally drained. It has made such a positive difference to our lives.”