The joy of living with a Direct Payment is the best thing that ever happened to me after having my two daughters. Having been a wheelchair user for the past thirteen years, I have not been able to do things as I wanted and have relied on other people to help me. With a direct payment I am independent and free to do as I wish. Before, I couldn't go to parties, weddings, funerals, holidays, and so on. Now I can and have done.
I thought I was a nuisance to my daughters as they felt they should take me for a drive, or take me out to Sunday lunch, or visit me more often, but I am lucky because I can drive a car. So my Personal Assistant (PA) gets me ready, puts the wheelchair in the boot and makes sure that I've got my medication and a bottle of water. Then I set off to see my daughters, or sometimes my friends.
I have two main personal assistants and stand-by PAs. My main PAs are kind and dedicated and I am very lucky to have them. My stand-by PAs are also caring and understanding when I ring them to ask for help.
I am allocated a number of hours a week for personal assistance, and I use almost all the hours for my personal needs. If for some reason I do not use all my allocated hours in one week they can be carried over, and I can use them some other time. For example, my best friend was very ill and I desperately wanted to see her and I did, with the help of my PA.
If ever I have a question or a problem I get in touch with the helpful people in on the Direct Payments Support Team and they help me solve the problem. I also go to Direct Payment User Group meetings - these meetings are important and helpful. New people who join the scheme can meet direct payment users who have a lot of experience to share.