Two-Year Wait Highlights Importance Of Accessible Showers

A disabled woman has spoken out about becoming depressed after being placed on a waiting list for over two years for an accessible bathroom. Bernadette Moore was identified as being in need of a wet room in 2020, following a health assessment. However, the BBC reports that the work still hasn’t been carried out.

This is despite the fact that a grant has been issued to the social housing provider. No satisfactory explanation has been offered for the delay, and Mrs Moore has resorted to making extra trips to the hairdresser in order to wash her hair. She can only manage to sponge wash at home using the sink.

The issue is affecting her mental health, Mrs Moore explains. She told the BBC: “I’m used to showering every day. I like to shower, makes me feel a bit better… I feel a bit depressed actually.”

Showering or bathing regularly is not only necessary for our personal hygiene, but it is also therapeutic and boosts our mood. Lack of independent access to washing facilities in the home can impact on our self-esteem and sense of wellbeing.

Kevin Maton, councillor for the Henley area, near Coventry where Mrs Moore lives, said: “How do you explain that two-year wait? Some of it is to do with a shortage of skilled people to come in and do this, but in the end no-one should have to wait that long to access the sort of facilities that we all take for granted.”

The agency responsible has apologised to Mrs Moore, and promised that the work will be delivered within six weeks.

Michael Garrett from Age UK Coventry and Warwickshire said it was a common issue.

“As we live longer, we have an increase in frailty and other health conditions and to remain in our properties, we need our properties adapted to enable us to stay in them,” he said.

There are 14.6 million disabled people in the UK, the Metro reports, yet only 9% of houses are accessible for wheelchair users. This is a problem for elderly people, and also younger disabled people who find it a huge struggle to take a first step on the housing ladder.

It is estimated that around 400,000 people with mobility problems are living in houses which are not suitably adapted to their needs. As the population gets older, the demand will become even more acute.

A common problem is that even when an apartment is suitable for a wheelchair user, the landlord is reluctant to allow changes to be made to the communal areas, such as widening the doorways or installing step free access.

Mobility aid users also require adapted kitchens, with lowered worksurfaces, easy grip handles, accessible storage, and under-counter clearance to accommodate legroom. Downstairs bathrooms, wet rooms, and walk in showers are also important for those with restricted movement.

If you are interested in finding out more information about showers for elderly and disabled call us on 01491 411041 or visit our website.

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