In 2018, a stroke left him with weakness in his right side and aphasia, a condition that causes difficulty with communication and language. He also has a below-the-knee amputation on his right leg.
During the first Covid lockdown of 2020, he came to live at Care for Veterans after becoming isolated at his home in Havant, Hampshire. Although he hasn’t known the facility without some level of lockdown, he has made incredible progress since arriving.
Rehabilitation Technician, Craig Burley, who has worked closely with Anthony, talks about his rehabilitation:
When Anthony first came in, he was quite reluctant to take part in group activities. He felt uncomfortable at first and wanted to keep to himself. However, when I invited him to participate in a cooking group, it kick-started his involvement in other activities.
He started physio sessions, working with one of our Physiotherapists, Vilma, and has also been able to work on speech difficulties caused by his aphasia and can now communicate clearly. Since arriving, he has made a dramatic improvement.
New wheels for greater independence
Anthony expressed a wish to achieve greater independence. However, he found his manual wheelchair was very difficult to use outside on uneven surfaces.
The Care for Veterans’ team assisted him in successfully applying for funding for a private electric wheelchair from BLESMA, a charity that enables limbless veterans to lead independent and fulfilling lives.
Anthony comments on his experience:
After a year at Care for Veterans, I feel like I have a greater level of independence. I have been having physiotherapy to help maintain my strength on one side and improve it on the other; it’s going pretty good. I am also now able to make my own coffee and do my own cooking.
The group activities are more about integration, getting out and mixing with others. I spent 20 years in catering, so I found the cookery group helpful in many ways. I enjoy cooking, and now I have given up cooking for thousands; it’s more personal; it’s what I fancy cooking!
During lockdown my new electric wheelchair has allowed me to move around the facility independently, check-in on the vegetable garden, and get fresh air whenever I want.
Now we are coming out of lockdown, I am looking forward to taking an assessment that will allow me to use my new wheelchair outside the grounds. Then I can get out into the local community. Although not necessarily down to the beach, I’ve seen enough of the sea!
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