Eight years ago I moved into the castle after my declining mobility made life in my previous lair impossible. I hadn’t wanted to move to start with, but with the support of my friends and family I soon settled into my brilliantly accessible new home.
So much about my spacious new place was perfect – the wide hallway, the soft-close drawers and massive garden. My occupational therapist prescribed adaptations and equipment that made it even more suited to my requirements. These included: a folding ramp for the front step, grab rails in the hall, an inflatable bath lift and even a key safe so help could reach me quickly if I needed it.
Pretty early on though, it was clear one thing wasn’t working for me – my bedroom carpet. Most of the castle has smooth hard floors but the bedrooms were carpeted. To start with I thought nothing of this but my first ‘ticcing fit’ on my bedroom floor all too painfully revealed a problem: my skin rubbed on the carpet causing a friction burn in seconds.
Every time I’ve had a fit on the floor since then I’ve thought ‘Why do I still have carpets?’ But despite this I’ve been very slow to take action. Then, over the last year or two, another issue with having carpets cropped up. My commode is brilliant and means I can manage my overactive bladder much more easily, but occasionally it drops to the floor, spilling wee into the super-absorbent carpet.
But while I was in Chile recently, something exciting and long overdue happened – I got new vinyl floors in the bedrooms.
They’re wonderful – super smooth, easy to clean and my chair glides over them with ease.
Slowly but surely I’m working to make the castle completely perfect for my body, and I hope the legacy will be one more accessible property for future generations of disabled people to make their home in.
Everyone deserves a place to live that feels safe, and that meets their requirements. Sadly for many disabled people this is far from a reality and a shocking 93% of homes don’t meet basic accessibility standards.
If you need more information on disability and housing rights check out the Equality and Human Rights Commission here. And if you’re able to, support Shelter or similar organisations that are tackling housing inequality.
My new floors have made a big difference to me and have once again highlighted the power of practical interventions.
I haven’t had a fit on my new floor yet but I’m almost looking forward to testing it out – I’m certainly excited about a life free from soggy carpet.