Adaptions

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
I live in a council property, my daughter is asd. I need a few adaptions done to our home. Extra handrail on stairs, wet room as daughter hates the bath so a shower is so much quicker and the main thing is the garden.
Our garden is on a slope and my daughter loves to be outside but is always tripping up or taking a tumble on the steps. I have to be with her constantly if she's outside to stop her from falling down.
I'd like it to be all on one level flagged with those rubberised flags ideally, then I know she'll be safe.
What is the likelihood of this work to be undertaken by the council. Has anyone gone through this process who can advise me please? :roll:
Hello Kirstie,

I'm pretty sure that the indoor adaptions would be viewed favourably by your LA, especially if you have your GP's support and the support of the Occupational Therapy team as to why they are necessary. However I'm not so sure they would be prepared to undertake/fund the work required in the garden, although they will usually install ramps for wheelchair access.

I can only suggest you contact your LA and see what they would be prepared to do - the worst they can do is to say "no".
If you are thinking of getting the garden terraced, that might well involve huge amounts of heavy digging and soil shifting.

But, one thought, maybe you could have decking installed that was like a 'platform' extending from the rear of your house out on 'legs' that reached the slope of the garden as it fell away. That would create a level space for your daughter. The decking could have secure rails around it, as obviously there would be a danger of 'falling off' otherwise. That might be considerably cheaper than moving loads of soil, and then reinforcing the retaining wall of the terrace.

I don't suppose the council could re-house you instead in a house with a more level garden??
You should definitely contact the occupational therapy department of your council's social services. They are very helpful here with indoor adaptations, and they will also help with advice on what to do outdoors. You don't have to do what they recommend if it's too expensive for you, but grab rails and similar tend to be provided free of charge. We had recommendations and a blueprint for a wheelchair ramp in the garden, but we decided against it.
Hello Kirstie,

others will be much better placed than I to comment on the adaptations to the inside (but remember to claim back VAT on anything you pay for for the bathroom).

If the garden has a slope it might be much simpler to "go with the flow" of it and do something that your daughter would enjoy. Does she like rolling down the slope like small children do? or does she like to lie on the bank sunning herself and gazing up at the clouds? In which case a lovely grass surface that she can get onto easily would be ideal. If mowing, or mud or other issues make grass a problem then astroturf works well and gives a nice green appearance from the house. Depending on how far she would go on her own a small patch near the house and the rest grass might be enough. If, however, she needs a level surface to walk it is easier to create a zigzag path, like a mountain switchback to the bottom with no steps and a gentle gradient than undertake great earth moving projects. A bench or stone slab set into a wall or bank at the bottom would give a destination to the walk. A bird bath, wind chime or other interesting thing to look at could be nearby. Paths can be grassy and there is a wonderful product I have just used to edge the drive at home so that it is not slippery. It is a plastic mesh that is lain on a smooth soil surface and pegged down. Grass is then seeded through it and gives a nice firm surface but looks like part of the lawn and can be mown. A wheelchair can run on it (actually a ten ton truck can run over it). Edgings could be scented plants that she can eat if she wants (lavender, rosemary) and that are robust but would cushion a fall a little. Bright colours like nasturtiums (also edible) would add to the pleasure. These are all plants that can be pretty much left to their own devices.

Creating an outdoor space that is pleasurable for you both to use all year and is easy to maintain can be a project that others might be willing to give you a hand with if OH and the LA do not stump up. You may find there is a local horticultural course that might take it on as a project for one of their students.

good luck

Max