His relationships with his family, friends and God not only make Ricky's day, but are also his most important tools in everyday life. And with his modified bus, wheelchair and walker, he is able to compensate well for his limitations. Which positive experiences he has already had, how the supply of aids could be optimized and how he rolls otherwise, he tells us on REHACARE.com.
Ricky: A good day for me is to have time with my wife and my three children. The best way to do that is to be out in nature and have delicious food with us. ;-)
Which auxiliary means or daily living aids are indispensable for you?
Ricky: My wheelchair, my rollator and my two walking sticks are essential for me. Depending on my shape of my day with multiple sclerosis, I depend on these mobility aids. My converted bus is also one of the basic aids that are essential for me. Due to my weakness in my legs, I got a conversion to a hand throttle braking system last year. Now I can drive a car independently again.
My handbike is also very important for me to be able to move quickly and effectively. It's not essential per se, but it has become essential for me for everyday speed with three small children. Other aids such as an accessible bathroom, doors without thresholds and an environment that is as accessible as possible are an advantage but not essential.
What would you like to see from society and your fellow people in dealing with people with disabilities?
Ricky: Basically, as far as I have experienced it myself, I am positively surprised how people have reacted to me and my disability. Many people are accommodating and even if they are not, so far no one has refused to help me when I have asked for it. From that point of view, keep it up...
Which assistive device would urgently need to be invented and/or improved?
Ricky: I think nowadays there are already enough aids that give you the opportunity to compensate for the limitation you are facing. However, the aids are unfortunately neither taken over by the cost unit nor subsidized. In my case, I tried to apply for my handbike through the cost unit, but it was not approved because I had chosen a handbike that I could crank myself. The cost unit rejected my application and would have offered me a much more expensive one where I only have to press a button and it will drive by itself.
This is a completely wrong approach. And as I said, there are many aids nowadays. However, the application process usually comes to nothing and the person concerned often has to pay out of his or her own pocket. The application process would have to be optimized and the supply of aids would have to be made much more individual. In the long term, this would save costs for payers and the state.
Ricky can get around quickly in everyday life with his handbike. Especially with three small children, it's a very practical tool: it allows him to keep up much better.
What has been your biggest challenge so far that you have mastered – and what has helped you?
Ricky: The biggest personal challenge of mine so far is to cope with the physical limitations that the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis brings with it. Be it the severely reduced ability to walk, the pain and sensations in the legs, frequent urination, etc. and especially the fact that as a young man I cannot rely on my own physical abilities. Of course my several aids like wheelchair and handbike etc. help me.
However, for me the greatest aid is relationships. My relationship with God, my relationships with my wife and children. The relationship with my friends. This contact with those who are dear to me gives me so much strength and hope to go on every day.
What can the assistive technology industry learn from the Corona pandemic to make life easier and/or better for people with disabilities in the future? Ricky: As in many areas, the pandemic has expanded the digital offering. I think this can also make things easier for those affected in the assistive technology sector.
If nothing was impossible: Who would you like to meet one day and why?
Ricky: My mother, who passed away ten years ago.
What was your best REHACARE experience?
Ricky: I have never been there unfortunately... but hopefully it will work out at some point.