Feeling stressed. We have to move as our house and the location (up a steep hill) is unsuitable for someone with mobility problems. I’m still walking with a stick, but just getting to the street can be a scary challenge because of steps. Also, just one income now so have to downsize. Getting the house ready to be sold feels overwhelming as we were half way through doing it up when this struck and husband has badly injured his back. There’s very little around us that would be suitable and so what there is is very expensive. I don’t know what to do. Should we move into a tiny dark bungalow close to the doctors and shop, or somewhere bigger further away and rely on taxis, or leave the area and go somewhere less hilly I know it has to be done but this isn’t how I saw our future. We’ve no family here and have moved around a lot so just know people rather than have close friends, but I don’t think I have the energy to start again. Work are finally getting rid of me on capability. I’ve had to give up all my hobbies, feel like a ball and chain around my husband, never have the energy to socialise and leaving .y garden birds and my view and the peace a d quiet of this house feels like leaving the last remaining vestiges of myself behind. Please tell me it will be OK.
I moved just over two years ago following a visit to the GP, who said ‘You need to move to a bungalow Pam, no rush, tomorrow will do’. I do now live in a bungalow, it isn’t dark, it is small, easy to manage, no stairs hurray and I live in an area where many people are of a certain age so life is slow. I have a garden, a shed, I spend many hours out there even in winter (even if my legs refuse to work properly). I had to move, there was no choice really so the only difficult thing was having the decision made for me by the GP and other factors. I got rid of loads of stuff even though I didn’t have lots to begin with. I had it all painted white and cream and put in a few simple pieces of furniture. I live a simple life, my bills are small as bungalows are easy to look after, but after every day’s torments of trying to get up, sorting stuff out, finding out what the heck the day will bring, the bungalow has brought me quality of life that I wasn’t getting by living in a house with stairs and unatainable rooms. I have peace, the library, the garden and whatever else comes along is a bonus.
I also was ‘let go’ and couldn’t work anymore due to my limitations and to be honest, I was so shattered I just used to work then sleep anyway. Now, it is just different to before. You take yourself wherever you go. Make a list of what you want, do you want a garden, do you want somewhere without stairs, what will make your life easier and enable you to preserve your energy into doing things you might not even have thought of yet?
My kids laughed when they said what do you want, I replied ‘I need to be in a bungalow, near the shops, near the library and near the Doctors’. They were aghast, these are my daily things. I can expand on that whenever I want.
Someone said to me last year, ‘doors may open, they may not, only by trying will you find out’. I spent more or less the first year on my own most of the time, adjusting. Now, the doors are opening slowly and more things are entering my life. It takes time, I spend most second days asleep but the quality of what I have is much better than trying to get up the stairs and being knackered all day. Once I had got my head round it all, I just thought, pick a bungalow near what you want, go for it. I packed one small box every day for three months, got people I know to help take stuff down to the charity shop, gave things away on freecycle. Very therapeutic, a good clear out ready for whatever came next.
Yes that’s what I want, I meant all the bungalows here that we can afford are dark with steep gardens behind. Can I move in with you?
I was in the same position as you. We moved to a ground floor flat.
I don’t have a garden but I’m having fun with patio plants. I couldn’t work a garden, like I used to, even if I had one.
A major hospital is in the same town, my GP is excellent and I have a great MS Nurse.
I’m doing horticulture, art classes, playing Scrabble online and trying to keep fit with Tai Chi. I could list all the things I can’t do but i’d rather concentrate on what I can.
Over the last few years we’ve de-cluttered a lot and as the Dutch saying goes, “The more you own, the more problems you’ve got.”
We’ve been here over seven years now and are very relaxed and content now the dust has settled.
I’m so glad you feel at home now. It just feels like a massive decision - we could move to a flat in a city instead, maybe there’d be more support there.
Is there a guide somewhere as to minimum sizes of rooms and hallways for wheelchair users? I know that doorways have to be widened in older properties (and there are no new ones here) but presume there are also turning circle requirements for bathrooms and kitchens, and specific clearance needed around bed for a hoist.
Physio said that people sometimes buy a bungalow presuming it will be OK but then find it can’t accommodate their increasing needs and actually they would be better off with a 2 storey with lift.
Anyone have any tips on what to look for or avoid that isn’t obvious?
Try and look at moving as a series of small stems and not one great daunting leap. Write down your red lines, whatever they may be and take a look at a few flats, or even bungalows if you insist. In my experience you will definitely find out what is not suitable and that will at least firm up the idea of what is needed.
Remember you are moving to make your life easier and that has to be a good thing.
This site might help with ideas.
We moved to a bungalow just over a year ago, as I was starting to struggle with the stairs, and we couldn’t really afford to keep our house on anyway, especially as I had to reduce my hours. We looked at flats as well as bungalows.
Whammel has given you some very good advice.
Are you old enough to move into sheltered housing? Lots of sheltered housing is flats, not bungalows, you really don’t have to join in if you don’t want to, and they tend to have at least two lifts - so you will never be stuck on the wrong floor (they tend to be low rise too). They also tend to be disabled friendly (as a lot of older people are). I am talking sheltered housing, not assisted living. And they are often close to doctors, etc.
Some of them are available as part owned, so they are a lot cheaper. They also tend to have tended gardens - so you get the pleasure without the work.
If you are remotely near the acceptable age - ring them up and ask if they’ll take you - some have strict criteria, but not all.
I know (from personal experience!) that it is a very daunting step - but once you have done it, you’ll be better off - honestly.
It’s well worth getting a proper removal firm if possible, they are great, will help you pack, and make sure you know where your kettle and teapot are at your new digs - very important!!! You can unpack the rest at your own pace.
And it will be ok. I wouldn’t have chosen our bungalow under different circumstances, but it’s suitable for me, our neighbours are of a certain age, and very lovely, and it’s really quiet. I can’t quite believe I needed a bungalow at 50, but I do, we’re here, and it is definitely a improvement in our living arrangements.
I would be happy in sheltered and am 49, I know husband would be miserable though, anyway there is nothing like that here. The choice seems to be a horrible expensive, overlooked, dark bungalow with an inaccessible garden or move to a less nice town where I know no one. There’s just so little available to buy with level access from the street and no flats with lifts etc That’s why I’m also considering buying a house and putting in a lift.
Remember that bit in ‘Apollo 13’ when the command module is out of control and atal error messages are shrieking from every screen and the Mission Controller stands back from the screaming chaos, gets the boffins together in a quiet room and asks, ‘OK, so what HAVE we got on this spaceship that’s good?’ And that is when they get to work and start figuring it out.
That moment kept coming back to me as I read your post. A list of what you and your husband have in your spaceship that’s good might be a way to get you started. When things are really tough, sometimes it’s a matter of grinding on, trying new things, keeping going, however dispiriting things look. Those MS dark nights of the soul are absolutely no fun whatsoever, though, and I really feel for you both.
I am right in the middle of this dilemma.
A bungalow became essential. While I can get up and down on our (not very reliable) stair-lift, it is the steps,and curving path down to the road just to get to the car, which make a wheelchair or a mobility scooter out of the question. Add in my wife’s Parkinson’s, and her frequent falls (luckily not down the stairs, yet), and there really was no choice.
No choice really summed it up. Got the house valued, added in a chunk from our savings, and a quick search on a property web-site indicated that there were just 103 bungalows in the whole county. We looked at two: one had less room than an apartment, the other was so small inside that no-one could have got past a wheelchair in the hall, and the bathroom door opened into that hall and blocked off the kitchen.
Our youngest daughter lives on the north side of Manchester - another search revealed that there were over 1300 bungalows for sale in Lancashire, and quite a few looked viable. We found one we both liked, made an offer, and and following acceptance are now coping with the paperwork. Our house went on the market and was sold within days (it has several advantages that are of no more use to us), so that means more paperwork.
So we will be about 200 yards from a GP/dentist/opticians/ Co-op store/newsagent/post office. and only about a mile from the daughter. We found several removal firms that will offer a full packing service, so all we have to do is separate out the stuff they will not take (paint, solvents, and the like) and get rid of all the items we don’t want (thanks Freecycle and Freegle, thanks charity shops), and find someone who will remove the stair-lift after I have used it for the last time (no-one wants a used stair-lift).
The next task is to get quotes and choose a firm to instal a (double) electric garage door. There is my big tip - if you need a door open wide to get into the car, a single garage is just another store, and you need a wide driveway. We need one that will let us open two doors wide (now that did cut the choice a little), so my second tip is figure out what you need, not just what you want.
The final tip is to do it NOW, not when you absolutely have to. MS progression is so variable, that planning for the future becomes essential. If we had, a 200 mile move at 80 would not be on the horizon - the near horizon.
In which case, seriously consider buying a house you like, and put in a lift, bear that in mind when you look at places you look at - straight staircases mean cheaper stair lifts, through-the-floor lifts mean a space they can go without making access impossible.
Other things you may need are a loo on each floor (or potential to put oe in) and some storage space on each floor (just so you can keep spares of things on the floor you need them on, and not have to go up and downstairs all the time). It doesn’t matter what the estate agent thinks, if you want to measure doorways for wheelchair access, just go right ahead and do it.
You have to be happy with where you live, so if that’s what you feel you and hubby would be happiest with, go with that, it’s a decent compromise.
Whatever you’re looking for out there, you may have to be patient, and some compromise is inevitable - so do make up your list of what you’re not prepared to compromise on, and good luck with your search.
And bear in mind, that if you want to go and have a look at some candidates, it doesn’t commit you to ANYTHING, so do just that, and see what you like and what you don’t. The photos are never good enough to make a judgement on.
We moved into a brand new ground floor flat with a small garden 2 years ago and it’s been the best thing. The stairs in our old home were a killer. Being a new flat the doors are already widened so plenty of room for wheelchair if and when needed.
We bought it off plan and got a really good deal we also asked for a wet room instead of bath and didn’t have to pay any extra.
The one downside is I have to take taxis if I want to go anywhere or rely on lifts but I don’t really go out that much anyway so it’s not a big problem.
The packing up and moving was a bit of nightmare but thank goodness we did it when we did as I don’t think I could do it now.
Oh, I cannot echo the “do it now” enough either.
If I had taken it seriously a year earlier, we could have had a nice house on a lovely estate - I would have been mobile enough to get up the stairs for the short time it would have taken to get a downstairs loo and a stair lift installed - instead we had to get a bungalow because I’d left it till I had to struggle with the stairs, and was really quite desperate to move whilst the sales crawled through.
It’s all a difficult call, as you have no idea how quickly you’ll progress - but better to move to somewhere adaptable while you’re still ok and can take your time looking than let push come to shove and have to take what’s on offer at the time. You don’t have to put it the adaptations till you feel you need to - but better to have the option and never need it, than need it and not have the option.
reading this thread and especially hebeyellow’s post
“doors may open, they may not. only by trying will you find out”
reminded me that i had copied out a poem i read somewhere.
THE DOOR by Miroslov Holub
Go and open the door,
Maybe outside there’s
a tree, or a wood
or a magic city.
Go and open the door
Maybe a dog’s rummaging
Maybe you’ll see a face
or an eye, or the picture
of a picture.
Go and open the door
If there’s a fog
it will clear.
Go and open the door
even if there’s only
the darkness ticking
even if there’s only
the hollow wind.
Go and open the door.
hope you liked it
Thank you, that’s how I’ll think about things from now on.
Oh I know, we’ll move into rented if someone makes us an offer on this place before we find anywhere else. The garage/driveway tip is very useful
Glad you are happy in your flat
I always like poetry. Thank you
Going to put on my big girl pants and start dealing with it all on Monday.
Great thread Teal,
My long term partner left me 6 months ago. We need to sell the house. Trying to declutter - I’m on first name terms with the people at the local tip and charity shops.
I really struggle to walk and have to pace myself.
I live in a very rural area and want to move into a bungalow in the local market town where I will be within a scooter ride to a Dr, shops, library - think this is a common need.
Good luck Teal.