74 year old Pat Fletcher has recently moved into her brand new Habinteg accessible home. However, up until two weeks ago, Pat struggled in an inaccessible house that was detrimental to her mental health and put a strain on her relationship with her family.
Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to receive the keys to a property that’s finally suitable for my needs. I spent years in a house that felt like a prison because of its inaccessibility, which is why my new Habinteg home is a welcome change. I’ve been diagnosed with pancreatitis and that, mixed with my age has made it very difficult for me to walk up and down stairs or stand up for long periods of time. The property I used to live in was probably the complete opposite of what I needed. Not only did it have stairs leading into it, which meant I needed assistance every time I wanted to go out or come home, but it also had a bath I could never use independently. There was one word to describe my living conditions: nightmare.
My sister and several other members of my family are wheelchair users so it was near to impossible for them to visit me. Even if they could make it up to my flat, the lack of space in my home meant a wheelchair could not turn at all. This led to my relationship with my sister and other family members being heavily affected. If she wanted to check up on me, or vice-versa, all we could do was call each other. The few occasions where I visited her home made me anxious as I knew I needed assistance to get back into my own house, so it usually meant that I had to cut visits short. Being stuck at home for days on end, not being able to visit my friends and family and some days going without a bath because I could not get in the tub made me feel like a prisoner in my own home. Saying that, even prisoners have access to a suitable bathroom!
To add to this, my community was becoming increasingly anti-social. Many people living near me, some of whom were my neighbours, became heavily involved in drugs which led to me feeling unsafe in my own home. When I spoke to the council they just advised that I put gates on my doors and windows, which I did. It was the first time I felt like giving up on the idea of a perfect home.
At my previous flat I had taken more than a handful of falls over the years. My last fall led to brain damage and bleeding on my brain. It was not long after this that the council offered me a home with Habinteg and I didn’t think twice. It finally felt like the universe was on my side and suddenly the idea of a perfect home was not just a dream.
Now, I can move around my home with no anxiety or fear of falling and it’s made me feel a lot more independent. I also have a wet room where I can just sit down without the need to get in and out of a bathtub. My sister can finally visit me and has already come over to my home twice in my first week of moving in and she loves that she can access everywhere in my house. Even my friends have said I’m glowing since moving into my new home.