Downsize to a flat, the story has just started
We live in a Victorian terraced house. Downsize to a flat is our next step but the challenges have only just begun. We moved into this house over 20 years ago and its now time to move on and start a new chapter in our lives. The children grew up here and now lead independent lives. We want to retire. This house is far too big and is not suitable for a man with advanced multiple sclerosis.
The area that tickles our fancy is Southeast London. Essential are good transport links into central London that are wheelchair accessible and close to the shops as well. The flat must have a roll-in wet room or bathroom that can be adapted, this is a deal breaker. The Wife yearns for good views. If possible, no hills.
Downsize to a flat
Finding the flat is where the problems begin. There are plenty of flats advertised but estate agents skid over my basic requirements. I cannot climb steps but I receive details for flats with steps up to the entrance. I can only walk with assistance but they assume I can get into a bath.
There are plenty of people with mobility and balance problems. Stop and think for a moment. The elderly, people who have had a stroke or injured after a road traffic accident come into this category and there are plenty more. This disability does not discriminate. I need space for a shower while sitting in a chair. Its call a wet room and is as common as hen’s teeth.
South East London
There are lots of flats already built as well building so many new ones. We have not found any flats on the market with a wet room. The shower-tray needs to be replaced with a shower-proof floor. Builders of new flats say there is not enough space beneath the floor to convert an area with a shower tray into a wet room. This is a design feature of the new builds ☹
Moving is full of problems
The council will not help until you live in the area. The work is means tested and there is a waiting list. If you want to buy a newly built flat with a wheelchair accessible shower then you must reserve it one to two yeas before it is available
Will we live in a retirement village? No chance. The idea of a property with poor access to public transport, entertainment, shops or the buzz of life is definitely not for me
Level access wet room showers
This type of shower is not restricted to people with mobility and balance problems. This style of shower would be perfectly acceptable to many other people. The shower area in my local public swimming pool is nothing more than a huge wet room.
Builders want to maximise their profits and simplify the build and the councils do not make life easy either. The design is aimed at cost savings and is not inclusive, People with mobility problems are excluded from this popular area. Isn’t this ableism?
Eventually everything will sort itself out for us meanwhile this story has only just begun.
Tips on to get a grant from the council