By Martina Tierney OT 

Case StudyParkinson’s Disease

The McFarlane’s are a fantastic couple. Brent and Vicki live in Waterloo, Ontario, but unfortunately they are not under the same roof anymore. Brent was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when he was just 43 years old.  As a former nurse, his wife Vicki was able to care for Brent during the early stages of Parkinson’s, but he has since been moved to Columbia Forest long term care home, while Vicki lives just a quick 10 minute drive away at home.


Those who aren’t from Canada may not be familiar with Brent McFarlane, Brent made his fame as a sports coach and educator in the world of Athletics. Anyone with an interest in the sport will be sure to know of him and his book, ‘The Science of Hurdling and Speed’.  His acclaimed experience and passion for his career, lead him to be Canada’s Head Track and Field Coach for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and he has served on 33 Canadian National teams himself. It was therefore a shock for Brent and his family to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s as he led a very fit and healthy lifestyle.

As an Occupational Therapist, I often hear, how family members or loved ones are frustrated and upset that they simply ‘just didn’t know’ that Seating Matters chairs can help so much. This is what happened to Vicki. “I had searched and searched for you for two years and when I saw the chair being rolled off the van I broke down in tears. Without Brent even sitting in it, I just knew this was the one. It looked like the Cadillac of chairs!” 

If a Seating Matters chair could change the life of your loved one, click here to book an assessment with your local Seating Specialist.

Brent seated in his old wheelchair
Brent now comfortably sitting in his Atalanta Chair

Brent spends up to 12 hours a day sitting and his time was spent in a wheelchair that didn’t offer the correct postural support or comfort. Unfortunately his only option to date has been to sit in a wheelchair with additional cushions in an effort to make it more comfortable. This was upsetting and a huge frustration for Vicki as she knew there had to be another option for Brent.  “He fell from the wheelchair a lot so that was very unsafe. I knew it was wrong, I just didn’t know how to fix it.”

Vicki tried to seek help from local companies who sold wheelchairs and other seating but they didn’t have what she knew Brent needed. She described that she visualized him sitting in – ‘a ‘La-Z-Boy on wheels’. It was then she was directed to Seating Matters. 

It looked like the Cadillac of chairs!”

Brent is now happily sitting in his Seating Matters Atlanta chair. He no longer requires a seat belt and loves having his feet elevated on the leg rest. “Brent has now lived with Parkinson’s for 25 years.  His communication is limited, but he doesn’t need to tell me how comfortable his chair is, I can see it in his face.”

I am delighted we could help you Brent and Vicki!

*Note – the purpose of this blog is to give an overview of the product with some tips to consider on its use. This is not intended to be a substitute for professional or medical advice, diagnosis, prescription or treatment and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. For advice with your personal health or that of someone in your care, consult your doctor or appropriate medical professional.

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