Over the years, TAD volunteer Bill Todd has accumulated a huge collection of miscellaneous bits and pieces of equipment and machinery that he uses for his projects. ‘You never know what will come in handy,’ he said. The armrest from an old wheelchair from Royal North Shore Hospital is a good example of Bill’s recycling.
A TAD client had suffered a stroke which affected the left side of her body, and she wanted to develop the strength of her left arm. She needed a way of exercising the arm while sitting in her wheelchair which would not be intrusive when it was not in use.
Amazingly, the wheelchair Bill found in his shed was identical with his client’s. ‘It was even the same colour,’ he said. This meant he was able to make the device at home before installing it on his client’s wheelchair, causing her minimum inconvenience.
He mounted a T-handle on a reciprocating vertical shaft attached to a spring from an old exercise machine, also from Bill’s invaluable collection. He made the spring adjustable so the tension could be increased as the client built up her strength.
When the client wants to go shopping and doesn’t need the device, it is easy for her to pull out the armrest and click the old one back in place.