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Property adaptations - a bungalow with a lift!
#16 (In Topic #15)
Site director

admin2 in the usergroup ‘Administrators’

Adaptations to property

As Christine's mobility decreased we were grateful that we happened to live in a bungalow.  Unfortunately, that the property is all on one level doesn't automatically make it suitable for a wheelchair user (although it certainly helps!).  We did progressively need to make a number of adaptations to the property both to improve access, and to provide a level access shower room (wet room).  We did in the end makes quite significant changes and among other things, we now have what is probably the only bungalow in the UK with a lift (A platform lift was necessary to lift the wheelchair from the level of the drive to the level of the bungalow floor)!

We didn't attempt to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant as we didn't think our financial circumstances would qualify, but in total it was pretty costly and probably a lot more than we initially bargained for (see below).

When we first had the work done (about 20 years ago) Christine could still walk a few paces and transfer from her wheelchair.  But as mobility deteriorated and more help was needed we did eventually accept that a hoist and sling was necessary for everyone's safety.  More of this in a later section on equipment and technology.

At this point we added a tracking ceiling hoist installed to transfer Christine from wheel or shower chair to her bed and vice versa.  The hoist that we chose was fairly simple and designed to transfer Christine from a chair to bed and vice versa.  We could have had a more complex version that tracked into the shower room, including over the toilet.  If you've read the first section of this blog on personal and medical you will know that the toilet bit would be irrelevant because of Christine's decision to have an ileostomy and suprapubic catheter.  And, as we planned to use a tilt in space shower chair it was easier (and cheaper) to bring the shower chair into the bedroom when it was needed, use the ceiling hoist to transfer Christine to this and back again after the shower.

Later, as showering in a shower chair became too uncomfortable we added a bath with a built-in electrically operated seat in the main bathroom, which continued as Christine's preferred bathing option right up until she died.  This explains why I haven't had a bath for nigh on 15 years!

Inevitably, with hindsight we would probably have done it differently which would also have been more cheaply!In particular, we could have managed an arrangement in which the wheelchair access was at the rear of the property, which would have done away with the need for a lift.  We also lost one of the three bedrooms by having the ensuite wet room created and have struggled for space ever since.  Again, we should have thought harder to avoid this.

Although not essential, Christine made various changes to the garden including a ramp from the back of the bungalow and was eventually able to access virtually all of it.  This, with an accessible garden room at the back of the property meant that she always had somewhere nice to sit with a view of the garden regardless of the season or weather.

Cost to ourselves - £50,000 to £60,000

Last edit: by admin2
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