My home hell
17 July 2014
by Sue Frier
In June 2012 I fell down the stairs at home — something that can happen to anyone. It left me in hospital for 14 weeks and needing to use a wheelchair. Ever since then it has been a hard struggle. I came home to a house where I could only use two rooms. I now sleep in my living room and wash in my kitchen.
I’ve asked my housing association and council if there are any disabled-friendly homes to move into but they say there aren’t.
That's why I've started a petition to build more disabled-friendly homes.
Since I launched it I’ve been overwhelmed by the responses I’ve been getting from everyone — from the comments left on the petition, to journalists phoning up wanting to talk to me. Yesterday I did my first TV interview with the BBC!
For the moment I have to continue living in the bottom half of this two-storey house, with my bedroom and bathroom out of reach. I know there are many people who lead very full lives as wheelchair users, but I can’t say that’s true for me.
Because I can’t get upstairs I have care workers come in every morning and help me wash at the kitchen sink. I pay to have a bath at a nearby care home each week. I've had to have the door taken off the downstairs toilet so I have more space to get my wheelchair in. But that means if a friend is here and I need the loo, they have to leave the house so I can go in private.
Until something like this happens to you or a close friend or family member, you just don’t think about the little things. Things like all my clothes being upstairs in my bedroom, which means I can’t get up there to choose what to wear. Things like having kitchen cupboards I can't actually reach. Things like the lack of dignity every morning as I am strip-washed by the kitchen sink.
Having a disabled-friendly home would mean I could do almost everything I could do before my accident and someone else could be getting the best out of this house. I’m pretty independent. I want to do things for myself in my own home.
If the lack of disabled-friendly housing worries you too, please sign my petition. Together we can get a plan for more disabled-friendly houses.