Nati de Oglou won’t let back pain stop her from living an active life

When back pain started to have a significant impact on Nati de Oglou’s quality of life, she decided she had to do something about it.

“Last year, it reached the point where I could only walk about 500 steps,” Nati explains. “When I went to Westfield, I knew where all the benches were because I had to sit down a lot. I couldn’t do the vacuuming in my house and I couldn’t clean the bathroom.”

Nati consulted a doctor who recommended back surgery. “I had the operation in February this year, but to tell you frankly, my back is still sore,” she says.

“I live on the second floor, which is quite okay because I don’t have any problems going up and down the stairs. It’s walking that bothers me. I still need to sit down a lot because when the pain comes, I just can’t cope with it.”

Housework also proved to be an ongoing challenge after the surgery.

“I can’t handle the repetitive stroke with the vacuum and the mop or wiping the walls in the bathroom,” she explains. “It’s difficult because I live alone, so there’s no one to help me do it.”

Reaching out

Realising that she needed to seek support, Nati contacted My Aged Care.

“I already had a phone number because they came to interview me four years ago when my husband was very ill before he passed away,” she says. “I was younger and stronger at that time, so I didn’t receive support. But they gave me a phone number to call if I needed help in the future, and when I rang early this year, I had someone here within a week.”

Aspire4Life Assessor Maria Lombardo worked with Nati to identify her goals and moved quickly to organise support.

Receiving a life-changing chair

Because Nati was concerned about falling, Maria made a referral for an occupational therapist (OT) review. The OT recommended a special chair to support Nati to remain independent, enabling her to sit safely while preparing and cooking meals as well as other tasks around the house.

“The chair arrived a few days ago and it really helps because it has a backrest and arms,” Nati explains. “I’d been using a stool, which wasn’t very comfortable or safe for me, because it swivelled. Now I can sit down safely when I’m preparing my dinner or washing the dishes.”

Nati also had two floor mats delivered to her home. “They noticed the mats I had weren’t safe for me, so they sent me two new ones for the front door and the bathroom,” she says.

Maintaining independence and freedom

Despite her back pain, Nati loves to stay active and socialise.

“I go out quite often,” she says. “I try to go for a walk and I can still drive my car, so I can visit family and go out with friends for lunch. I do my own groceries and I go to see my doctor on my own. It was mainly the house cleaning and safely sitting down I needed help with.”

If her needs change in the future, Nati knows she can count on Aspire4Life to be there.

“They encouraged me to give them a call should I require any additional assistance, and I know they’ll organise it quickly for me,” she says.

For more about how Aspire4Life can support you to reach your goals, click here.