Psychologist and retired RN, Kate Orr, is the winner of our Dragon Pro. Orr is a director of Perth Mobility & HealthCare that sell and hire products for people with disability. Her partner, who has a disability, had difficulty finding equipment that suited him so the couple set up their business two years ago. “Like a lot of communities, Mandurah which is located 80 kilometres from the city has an ageing population, so demand for equipment and devices are growing,” Orr told F2L.
“What we are finding in many cases is that people predominantly in the older age group who have a physical disability are in denial. We see it every day, we explain the product, the family agree, but the client refuses to have any part of it. They are convinced they don’t need it despite the fact they can no longer go shopping and are denied participation in many areas resulting in social withdrawal. “We find the situation very challenging and the answer is education. Once you can actually get the person to try the equipment and they realise it is going to make such a difference in their lives, combined with encouragement from others it always helps to convince them of the advantages of ability aids.” As for her view of the disability sector, Orr said: “A cessation of abilities, either newly acquired or long term, requires assistive products that inspire, can educate by offering information which encourages self-esteem, self-motivation and helps to build resilience. Those who have lost abilities to perform daily living tasks, at either high level or low level, need an element of entertainment which can lift spirits, add humour and increase lifestyle enjoyment.” Orr often uses herself as an example and hires a mini scooter when attending trade expos and conferences so she is not tired and can enjoy events in the evenings.
As a fellow health practitioner she is constantly speaking to GPs about professional encouragement of their clients to, for example, to use a rollator or elbow walker to help reduce falls “but the response has been very poor as GPs seem to be reluctant to push the idea to their patients.” However, it is a totally different situation with the younger people with disability. “They want all the assistance available to get going and get on with their lives as quickly as possible.”
Orr said she and the team are frequently invited to talk with carers and members of the local community, which she believed offered a valuable community service.