He may be confined to bed for the vast majority of his day, but 30 year-old Oli Groom has still managed to produce a music album and undertake tertiary studies.
Needless to say, having a good quality mattress is absolutely critical to Oli’s daily comfort and wellbeing.
The inspiring Kerikeri man has muscular dystrophy and has been unable to walk since he was 10. The genetic disorder is characterised by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness, so outings in his wheelchair aren’t as frequent as they once were.
Oli has a team of caregivers who come and go throughout the day, and he shares his home with several flatmates. He loves to create electronic dub music on his computer, and produced an entire album a few years ago which was for sale online and in local music stores.
“Ever since I was little I’ve been into music,” he says. “I was pretty enthusiastic about the stereo when I was 2 years-old. I’d turn it up really loud and annoy the neighbours.”
Oli has also completed a short course in mental health and addiction through NorthTec. Spending days at a time sitting up in bed while pursing these interests poses some significant challenges, particularly around pressure care and avoiding skin injuries.
“It’s very important to have a good mattress,” he explains. “It has to be comfortable and quiet because it does get annoying after a while if something’s really loud.”
Over the years Oli has had five or six different mattresses, most of which have been alternating air ones with individual cells that inflate and deflate to redistribute pressure on different parts of the body. However, noise is an ongoing issue and sometimes prevents Oli from getting a good night’s sleep.