We’re delighted to welcome our part time blogger back again to discuss her likes, dislikes, basic requirements and frustrations…
“As a wheelchair user, one of my personal criteria when searching for a new home is space. Having a turning circle, for my chair, available in each room is fairly fundamental to my idea. Where I currently live, the bathroom is just too small to allow for a turning circle, so I have to reverse out, often catching the door or my hands as I go.
It is safe to say that the bathroom is one of the most important rooms for someone in a wheelchair. As I have said, having enough space for turning circle is the ideal. Being comfortably able to use all the facilities is massively important to me.
Many an adapted bathroom has been automatically converted into a wet room (I successfully got a council grant to widen all my doorways, put a ramp up to my front door and to convert my bathroom Into a wet room).
Being uniquely awkward however, I love baths! Although a large number of wheelchair users prefer to shower, so wet rooms are idea for them. But for me, I spent several years researching ways to bathe, went to a few showrooms and finally plumped for a bath belt. These lower you in and out of the bath (and have only come away from the floor twice!) The company that makes them also went bust the week after they fitted mine – so not ideal. Also, my main dream is to stretch out in a bath and soak for hours. As my current bath barely lets me fit, as my room is too short, and I am 5”10 – I think it is back to the drawing board for me!
Hopefully, the perfect bath is out there. It is certainly something I need to think about carefully in my next flat and it’s good to see many companies out there specialising in stylish and workable bathroom design, such as Absolute Mobility (https://www.absolutemobility.co.uk/) who can cater for every type of bathing requirements for individuals, who have very different needs.
In my search for new lodgings I have come to the conclusion that I really don’t want any of my fixtures or fittings to look ‘too clinical.’ Why not stylish? Even in the disability aids. Maybe after 25 years of using a wheelchair I am still in denial, but it is very important to me that my things feel like my things and not something created for ‘the disabled.’
For me, who cannot manipulate her hands or coordinate her movements, cooking would be dangerous. However, many people in chairs feel the need to have the freedom of being able to use the kitchen. This room could be seen as very important.
Looking back in my property search, I can’t forget the time I went to view a ground floor flat which had a large step to it (and the stairwell for upstairs was so close that you could not fit a chair in between.) To me it seems ridiculous, but sadly necessary, to comment on the need for step free access. Even having previously alerted them to your wheelchair. This particular flat also had two mattresses in the hallway, meaning even if I had gained entrance I could never have got through the hall.
A large proportion of agents have a poor understanding of any additional requirements you might have. Looking for a new property is never simple full stop. Let alone when you are looking for specific requirements. It really is a good idea to get some expert advice from the likes of Branch Properties, who can take a lot of time spent, talking to agents and looking at unsuitable, inaccessible properties and they’ve been a great support for me”
What are your thoughts and experiences with spaces that are fit for a wheelchair, please do let us know? Let us know your comments below.
Are you a landlord who has a property that sounds like it will work for a wheelchair user? We’re always looking for properties as we have a huge number of clients on our waiting list… Please get in touch for further info on www.branchproperties.co.uk
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