Adapting a property to meet a wheelchair users needs

How we worked to make sure Mr M's new home met his needs

Mr M has been a full time wheelchair user since 1998, having suffered spinal injuries after being involved in a road accident.

After spending a year in hospital, Mr M was ready to go back home. But he found his housing issues more challenging than getting used to being in a wheelchair.

Housing issues

Mr M needed to sell his third floor flat and look for another place to buy, but couldn’t find anything suitable in the area that was familiar to him and near his friends and family.

He eventually moved into an ordinary Council flat which had ramp and some kitchen adaptations.  He was happy that the property had level access and it meant he could get out of hospital. However, the flat had structural and dampness problems and was included in a clearance programme.

Mr M was moved to a similar property but this was also going to either demolished or refurbished.  Knowing he was going to be disturbed again, Mr M was keen to find a more permanent solution.

New Horizon housing

It just so happened, that Horizon was building a new development where Mr M lived - including housing for wheelchair users. 

Mr M was able to secure one of the wheelchair properties and is pleased that his new home is in a mixed housing development. He did not want to live in an environment consisting solely of wheelchair users, and had feared that this might be all that was open to him. 

An Occupational Therapist worked with Horizon and Mr M to ensure that his new house was fully adapted to his specific needs. 

Purpose built home

Although he could get around his previous home, this did not offer the advantages of a purpose built home, such as light switches and sockets being at the right height, plenty of circulation space, a purpose designed bathroom and an automatic door opener to allow him to let people into his house without having to go to the door himself.

There is no such thing as a perfect house, but for people in a wheelchair, like me, some design features, such as wider doors, are simply common sense.