Our homes are our palaces, we cherish them and decorate them to create our own perfect havens away from the rest of the world. These are the places where we feel safe, secure and comfortable. But what about if something happens to us, either for a moment in time, or more permanently, that makes our homes become a place of frustration, and even a danger to use? This is something that wheelchair users have to address all the time.
I have had times in my life when mobility was a problem. Straight after having Joe I was very ill, and needed a wheelchair to get around. I struggled with the most mudane things like getting around corners and through doors. I was lucky, this was a temporary setback for me, I was soon up and on my feet again. But for some people, this is what they face everyday. My family has a history of MS on both my maternal and paternal side, so I have seen aunties who have spent a great portion of their adult lives needing wheelchairs for mobility, homes that needed to install a stairlift to make life easier, so that they weren’t just confined to the lower levels, and bathrooms that needed to be converted into wet rooms in order to make them safe and usable. In short their houses had to be adapted to make them safe and accessible.
The idea that safer mobility in our homes is now only something we need to think of in terms of elderly relatives is now sadly outdated, the number of young adults who suffer with chronic pain is on the rise, and the stigma about talking about this is lessening, meaning more people are seeking the help they need to help them live independently. A Daily Mail report suggested that more than half of the adult population suffer with chronic pain, i.e. pain that lasts more than 3 months, with an NHS report echoing this, 1 in 6 of these people are in the 18-25 age group, which is quite a staggering figure, and this would, in the past, have made independent living very difficult for young people suffering, but wanting to branch out on their own.
But we can now at least adapt our homes to suit our needs and to give us a level of mobility that can also give a real quality of life. That can only be a good thing.