Sheila lives in a bright unit flushed with sunlight in a leafy retirement village in the Illawarra. Her home is beautifully complemented with Asian style furniture from the time she spent in Singapore when her husband was commissioned in the British army.
“It was a very interesting time,” says Sheila, a former teacher of children with special needs. “When the commission was up, we decided to come to Australia instead of returning to Britain. We lived in Brisbane originally and then moved to Wollongong.”
As time went by Sheila found it difficult to get up from her lounge. She had increasing muscle weakness in her upper legs due to some medication she was taking. The lounge was set very low to the floor and took a certain amount of strength to rise up to a standing position. Sheila had heard about TAD through a friend and got in touch to see if anything could be done.
Volunteer Ken Kirwood visited to take measurements. “I had wooden blocks of various sizes,” explains Ken. “I put these under the lounge and asked Sheila to sit until we found which one was a good height. Then I measured this and went home to make the new base.”
Sheila’s lounge is split into four separate blocks so that it can be separated or arranged around a corner, so Ken had to prepare individual bases for each section. The main issue for Ken was making the new wooden base match the colour of the rest of Sheila’s Asian furniture. The wood had to have a dark stain applied. To do this, Ken mixed Walnut stain with two other stains until he got to the correct colour. Once complete Ken removed the original hidden feet from the bottom of the lounge and screwed in the new bases.
Sheila was amazed by the outcome; she was able to get up from the lounge with ease, even after a recent hip operation. “It looks beautiful and matches my other pieces of furniture so well, which was really important to me. It was all done in such kindness.”