Several nights each week, Jenny and her son Dan wait in the car outside their local Bunnings store for the last customers to leave. Allowing a few extra minutes after the last person emerges, Jenny and Dan can finally go in themselves and have a look around.
For Dan, exposure to Coronavirus will likely be fatal. Living with epilepsy and global brain damage, running a fever could trigger a severe and prolonged seizure which he may not recover from. For this reason, Dan and Jenny have been taking social distancing measures very seriously.
But ensuring Dan keeps mentally stimulated and maintains his skills is also important in keeping him happy. The challenge is finding activities which are safe for Dan to take part in during the pandemic. Trips to Bunnings and walks in the park have been a staple for Dan and Jenny at this time and an important change in scenery. Dan is very happy to be out and about in new surroundings.
While Jenny acknowledges the stay-at-home period has been tough; it has not been so far removed from her regular experience as a primary carer.
“I find it interesting how isolated people say they are when we’ve felt like that for a long time,” she says. “It somewhat hasn’t changed for us in that regard.”
But despite the isolation, Jenny feels positive and lucky to have Dan in her life. Dan’s disability has led Jenny and Dan to meet people they would never have met before; and have opened up new opportunities for Jenny in disability advocacy. Jenny is now part of several networks and disability advisory groups where she speaks up for people with disability and their carers.
“Dan’s the happiest soul on earth,” says Jenny. “I’ve got a lot to be positive about. We’ve met so many brilliant, wonderful people because of Dan’s disability.”