How lockdown has made me even more grateful for my accessible home
We’re delighted to welcome such an influential disabled Blogger & Travel Writer – Carrie-Ann Lightley discussing life at home in lock down. Carrie-Ann was named as one of the top 100 most influential disabled people in the UK, none the less and reading her blog, we can see why…
“Now more than ever, there are few things more important than a safe, accessible home.
I’ve been isolating at home for two months now. I go out for a short walk with my dog once a day, and whilst I’m so grateful for that time outside, it is overwhelming. Will the pavements be too busy? Will others step out of the way to maintain social distancing? Will we manage to complete our walk and still feel safe? Getting home after going through all of that is, often, a relief.
Our homes are our refuges, our safe places, where we relax and spend quality time with the people we love. For disabled people you could say that’s even more important; we live in an inaccessible world, and even the places that are accessible won’t suit everyone’s requirements. Ultimately our homes are ours – our own little piece of the world that we can adapt to be exactly what we need.
My first accessible home was a ground floor flat which my family adapted. It had a ramped entrance, lowered kitchen surfaces, a level access shower and a specially designed space for storing my wheelchair. I loved it, and spent 7 years there, but found after that time that I’d outgrown the space. I longed for a garden and more storage, so it was time to move on.
Moving from my first accessible home into a bigger and more spacious home with a huge accessible kitchen!
I heard about a new build development in its early stages and, after conversations with the developer to confirm that they could meet my needs, put a deposit down on an off-plan property. This meant that the design of my house could incorporate accessible features as it was being built, without incurring any extra costs. This was so important as it meant I as able to sit down with the building team and modify the plans – we widened doorways, changed room sizes, and completely altered the layouts of the kitchen and bathroom.
Though working in this way did save on cost, it also meant that I had no idea what my house would look like until my final snagging meeting, around two weeks before I got the keys. Thankfully it was well worth the anxious wait.
I have a much bigger kitchen with dining table which I use for food preparation, and lowered kitchen sink and hob. This means I can cook independently – something which I love to do, and I’ve been getting really creative with food and cooking during isolation. The house does have stairs – which I can manage a couple of times a day, as I have an accessible toilet downstairs as well as upstairs. The upstairs bathroom also has a level access shower, with a seat and grab bars. Custom-built ramps take me into my long-awaited garden, which my husband has landscaped with paving slabs and a long, central slope so I can access all of it.
My home, my own space and my office – all in one!”
As well as living and relaxing space, my home also enables me to do my job as a marketing manager. The small box room was converted into an office for me two years ago, and it works perfectly. Instead of heading out of the door in all weathers and battling pavement obstacles to get to work, I can do it all in my own space. This leaves me with so much more energy to focus on my job and during days when I’m struggling with fatigue and pain I can always be comfortable
Years of blogging and travel writing mean that I’ve been lucky enough to stay in some pretty spectacular accessible holiday accommodation, with features that I’d love to have in my own home if money were no object! Mirrors with tilt functions that can be seen from all heights, rise and fall kitchen worktops, buttons to control all technology from a central location and even accessible hot tubs!
The thing I love the most about my accessible home
The thing I love most about my accessible home is that it’s constantly adapting and evolving to meet my changing needs. It’s my place to relax, to cook, to work and to enjoy – it gives me the freedom to live the life that I want.
Lockdown has made me even more grateful for my accessible home, and it’s helped me to really appreciate my outside space. I often think of those who stuck in unsuitable, inaccessible properties which limit their independence. I hope that whatever the future holds, sites like Branch Properties can help more people with accessibility needs to find suitable homes.
Carrie-Ann Lightley is an acclaimed blogger and travel writer, and also Marketing Manager at national disability organisation AccessAble.
She’s a wheelchair user who loves to travel and a well-respected figure within the tourism industry. Carrie Ann’s blog has become a firm favourite with her followers and led her to write for the Guardian, HuffPost and TripAdvisor, as well as many other websites, magazines and industry publications.
She launched www.carrieannlightley.com to share her experiences and expertise, and inspire others to travel.
In 2019, Carrie-Ann was named as one of the top 100 most influential disabled people in the UK, on the Shaw Trust #DisabilityPowerList100.
Thank you so much Carrie -Ann for such a fatalistic blog!
If you have any comments, thoughts or questions for Carrie Ann, please get in touch?!
#home #properties #accessible #independence #disability # wheelchair #lock down