Parkinson’s disease has robbed musician Tony Richmond of the life he once lived.
As a result of tremors, imprecise movements and weakened muscles from the degenerative disease, the former professional drummer now struggles to hold a glass of water, much less a set of drum sticks.
Tony was diagnosed with the long-term degenerative disease eight years ago. Since then he has battled bladder cancer and undergone a triple heart bypass, all the while struggling with limited mobility. His weeks are spent shuttling from one hospital appointment to another, attending physio sessions and speech therapy sessions, all of which leave him mentally and physically exhausted.
Tony doesn’t complain. His wife, Vicki - who a year ago quit her job to become his full-time carer - is equally stoic.
Eastleigh Borough Council’s Disabled Facilities Grant scheme has gone some way to making life a little easier for Tony and Vicki. Through the scheme the couple has qualified for several vital adaptations to their house in Derby Road. Adaptations the couple could never have afforded to carry out themselves.
A specially-adapted stair-lift means Tony struggles a little less to get upstairs; a simple task to most but one that often could take Tony as long as 40 minutes to complete. A contemporary wet room with a raised toilet to replace a traditional bathroom, gives Tony more independence; the extra space created by removing the bath now allowing him access to the room while using his disability walker.
“We were referred to the Disabled Facilities Grant scheme by Tony’s Occupational Therapist. We didn’t know we were even eligible for it,” says Vicki.
“Without the scheme, we couldn’t have afforded to convert the bathroom or install the stair-lift. Both of these adaptations have made a huge difference to Tony. Before the stair-lift was fitted, Tony would have to semi-crawl up the stairs, with me trying to support him from behind; it could often take as long as 40 minutes. It was exhausting.”
Tony speaks warmly of the bathroom conversion. “The design of the wet room is great. Before the bath was removed it was difficult for me to move around in the bathroom; the space was really too tight for my walker to fit in.
“Since the bath has been replaced with a walk-in shower, I can wash more easily as the cubicle is on one level and has fold-back screens and a seat.”
Vicki adds: “The Disabled Facilities Grant scheme has had an enormous impact on our lives. I don’t know how we would have managed without the home adaptations that have been carried out through the scheme.”