One of the reasons I moved into my own home was because I needed somewhere that would better meet my needs in terms of my chronic illnesses and disabilities.
Back at my Dad and stepmum’s there was many things I found inaccessible. Firstly and a big one one was the stairs; even bum shuffling up and down them was exhausting especially on my bad days. There was also nowhere to store my wheelchair in the house unless it was to get in the way. I also couldn’t have some of the adaptations I needed like grab rails, a second stair bannister or a key safe as well as things like a perching stool in the kitchen and my bath lift was a constant annoyance for my stepmum especially when we had people like my brother come and stay over.
How my new home has been adapted
Ways in which my new home has been adapted or equipment I now have to make my life easier and to support and enable me to live independently.
- My front door has a thumb lock - instead of struggling with keys (even with my KeyWing adapters on) I just have a large knob to twist to lock and unlock the door - I didn’t have this originally but when the door lock broke and the locksmith came he decided to install a thumb lock for me to make locking the door from the inside easier for me.
- Having an integrated kitchen in the front room I’ve come to love. Not having to to travel far around my bungalow is amazing and is so helpful (it’s also saved me having to buy an electric wheelchair like I thought I might have to have done). I only have my front room, bedroom then my bathroom to navigate (plus my garden). It just makes living on my own, especially with limited mobility and energy levels so much easier. I also now have a perching stool which I use in the kitchen area.
- In the kitchen I chose to buy an induction hob oven. Though my PAs/carers do most of the cooking I still like to cook and bake sometimes with my PAs and I got an induction hob because it was the safest option. It cools down very quickly after use, the risk of burning myself is lower, it’s impossible for anyone to accidentally leave it on among other things. The hob and oven also if the timer is set on it it will switch off when the timer goes off too. It was more expensive but it’s definitely been value for money especially when it comes to safety both to people and my home.
- In my bedroom I have my profiling bed with hybrid airflow mattress. My profiling bed is similar-ish to one you’d find in a hospital. My mattress is a hybrid between a static pressure relief mattress with and airflow mattress function on top.
- To go with my bed I have an over bed table that part of it tilts so I’m able to do craft activities and write mail in bed. I waited to get this table until I moved into my new home.
- In the bathroom I have my bath lift. Without this I wouldn’t be able to get a bath.
- I also have the grab rails I need in the bathroom. There’s one near the toilet and another next to the bath so when I’m in the bath (I can’t tolerate showers) I can now use the grab rail to sit forward or change position etc independently.
- Throughout my bungalow I have smart lighting and I have a HomePod in the front room and in my bedroom. I rarely use the main lights because of my light sensitivity so I prefer my lamps. On my phone or through voice commands I can control the lamps in my bungalow. For example I can turn them on and off, to dim or brighten them or set how warm or white the glow is. Under my craft desk the plug there is a smart plug so to save me climbing under the desk all the time so like with my lamps I can control the desk plug on an off.
- To get into my garden I have a step and I have a grab rail there too so I have something to hold onto.
- When the fire service came to assess me and my bungalow they weren’t too happy with the door between my front room and my bedroom. In the night if there ever was a fire I’d struggle to get out quickly - in the morning when I wake up it takes me at least 15 minutes if not longer to sit my bed up in slow increments and at times my symptoms can make me immobile. The door would have only given me protection of 10 minutes, if that. There isn’t any legal obligation for housing providers to make changes such as install fire doors but thankfully I having an amazing housing provider and they’ve installed a fully fledged fire door for me.
- My rubbish and recycling bins are collected for me by the ‘bin men’ (I’m not sure what their official title is these days as it’s always changing) and then returned.