Before continuing on with items 8-10 in my Top Ten Tips to Access My Home series, you might, if you’ve not already done so, want to catch up on the earlier Ten Top Tips. Tips 1-4 are here and, for Top Ten Tips 5-7, click here.
Moving swiftly on, my final Top Ten Tips, 8-10, are:
From 1998 to 2001, my illness was running rampant and crisis was piled upon crisis. At home, necessary adaptations – not often stylish or comfortable – were made but my consultant said, ‘Do nothing permanent. Let’s see what happens.’ It was hard and horrible for all of us. But, in the end, that proved good advice as we learnt, through bitter experience, what didn’t work for us.
Having butt-bumped my way up and down stairs, tried stair lifts, built-in slopes and platforms, been carried and dragged into positions, lived in one room for long, long, months, and years, used bath stools, shower chairs, commodes, hoists, different wheelchairs and so on, by the time of our 2001 build, we knew enough to get the major adaptations right for us.
A reliable platform lift, well adapted bathroom and bedroom, access in and out, good interior space management. With some style too. Our adaptations were discreet, well made and are, even now, little noticed by visitors. The number of times people ask where the lift is …? Baffling. It’s opposite our front door as you walk in.
However, what we were not, in our crisis stage, capable of was boldness in our vision or design.
Honestly, I’m not sure that was a mistake at the time as I do think you need to live both with your property and your adaptive needs for a bit, if you can. It’s so easy to make hasty, and expensive mistakes, when everything is new, unpleasant and shocking to you.
It’s also important to focus on getting the basics of wheelchair style home living right for you before you go ambitious. Though I never consider style irrelevant, function is paramount. There’s no quality of life in dysfunction and discomfort. Decide what’s most important to your quality of life and hit those markers first. Get good help if you need advice on this … I did though more by default than design.
Occupational therapists (OT’s) are the obvious resource for advice but I’ve never met one who was useful to me. Overall, I’ve found OT’s and social services less than forthcoming with stylish adapted living as the bureaucratic mindset – probably cost driven – seems to be all about the cheapest of function not form and a rigid view on lack of choices rather than personalised options. Apologies if I step on toes with those generalisations but my views are based on my personal experiences.
Initially, the person who was the most help to me, in finding adaptive options, was my private physio, Farshideh Bondarenko of Birkdale Neuro-Physio Clinic. She has years of experience with neurological illnesses and is one of the kindest most empathetic people I’ve ever met. She totally got that home adaptations needed to fit me in my life not that my life would be subject to my need for adaptation. She was hugely generous with her time and enormously encouraging as I struggled to restabilise myself and my life to live with chronic illness. Do find yourself a ‘Farshideh’, if this is all new to you and you can.
As you gain both confidence and knowledge, with reference to the information available from the booming online community, it becomes easier to visualise and plan a beautiful home stylishly adapted for you, your wheels, your family and lifestyle.
For Project 2018, we resolved – Top Ten Tip 8 – to be bold and dare to dream. To live our lives bigger and better – more space, more certainty, more ambition, more style and more fun.
And, that stated objective has to allow us to indulge in incorporate some of the things that we love.
When adaptations are needed, it’s so easy to get caught up in the practical and prosaic.
Of course that’s necessary but so is it to love, live and dream so do try to give yourself the space and means to indulge. Those items of indulgence may not be as they once were but, nonetheless, luxe is luxe in whatever form it pleases you.
My top five Project 2018 adaptive Luxe items are:
1. Our bathroom with its’ spa jet, whirlpool, bath – a brilliant 2001 choice and the only place I’m not in pain – to be upgraded and updated.
2. Our bedroom including our all-moving-parts bed – combining an Auping and a specialist air bed to be an oasis of respite, viewing, reading, sleeping, and stretching.
3. My Eyrie where I will be high in the sky, writing and thinking, looking at the world through a huge glass wall and ceiling, surrounded by books and art.
4. Our ground floor social space with beautiful kitchen, living area and garden room – hopefully a popular drop in space for friends and family.
5. Our top floor TV/Music room adjacent to our massively glazed double height studio for having late night fun with our arty friends under the sun and stars.
A home for living, loving and laughing for D and me on the wheels.
10. My 2018 Project Mantra aka Oprah’s Zen
My Final Top Tip is actually a three in one of financial advice taken from OMME (Oprah Magazine’s Money Editor), read way back in the ‘00’s and who better to take advice from the woman of lifestyle zen:
If you love it and need it … buy, buy, buy at the best price point for your budget.
If you need it but don’t love it, pay as little as possible for optimum functionality.
If you love it but don’t need it, don’t spend it …
I’m kinda still working in that last one but the first two have been religiously applied to every penny of adaptive spend I’ve made since I read them. My interpretation: pay as much as you would like for love and need; as little as you can for best performance of need without love; how many material ‘things’ do you want in your life?
Here endeth my sermon on Top Tips, for now. Bring on Project 2018 … 👣
The Access My Home series is about sharing how D and me have made our home work for both of us, my Wheels included. Whilst our circumstances will not be exactly the same as yours, I hope our experiences and project will be of interest to you if you need to make wheel-style adaptions to your home or are helping a loved one/friends with theirs.
Please share any thoughts/comments below. I’m all about the sharing and learning from each other.
Click the link to see more posts in the Access My Home series.