A brother and sister have a rare form of muscular dystrophy, a degenerative condition meaning they will both need increasingly high levels of care over their lives.
They live with the sister’s teenage daughter and retired parents – who administer the bulk of their care. In September 2012, the family was referred to Care and Repair because it was becoming increasingly apparent that they could no longer continue living in the house – a standard three bed semi-detached house in Leeds.
Both had growing care needs and increasingly restricted movement. The sister had already fallen several times attempting to climb the stairs. Their parents knew their home must be adapted for the safety and security of their children.
Their father said: “Our daughter likes to do things herself but it was reaching the stage where we had to physically push her upstairs. As a retired couple ourselves, we just couldn’t manage anymore. We were worried about what we would do if anything ever happened to us.”
“It was getting very difficult because we were all living on top of each other and this was taking a harder toll on the whole family,” said their mum. “They needed increasing amounts of care and, with a teenager in the house growing up and wanting their own space too, you can imagine how difficult that was.”
With the family moved out, work began in July 2013. After gutting the house, Care and Repair contractors reworked the whole of the downstairs and upstairs living spaces – making the home more open plan and wheelchair accessible. This involved widening all the internal and external doorways, creating an additional living area downstairs, increasing the circulation space throughout, providing a new utility room and building a new light and airy extension to the back of the house to create extra space.
Care & Repair contractors also designed and fitted a through-ceiling lift to the upstairs rooms and reworked the upstairs living areas to accommodate two large bedrooms to give their parents their own spaces and a large, fully adapted disabled wet room with the latest equipment. Contractors also completed a full loft conversion to ensure everyone could have their own spaces.
Their mother said: “Living here is going to change our lives. We’ll all have privacy and extra space and the safety of the lift is going to be a real peace of mind – it will make a huge difference to them – and to the whole family.”
Outside the house, Care and Repair contractors reworked the front garden to accommodate a parking space and a ramp that will enable them both to move easily into the house. The works also included converting the loft into bedrooms for the other family members who live there– to enable everyone to have their own space.
Their father said: “We’re delighted with this option and how Care and Repair have helped us through the whole process. They’re very experienced and know what they’re doing. As soon as they became involved things started falling into place – it’s been a pleasure working with them. We’ve all got our own little places and it’s going to be a big improvement. We can live together as a family again now – it’s unbelievable really.”
Care and Repair also provided help through its Warm Homes Service to supply the family with a new, up to date heating system. Working in close collaboration with Care and Repair’s technical team, the Warm Homes Service identified that the family qualified for financial support from the government as their existing heating system was inefficient and they guided them through the complex process of applying for grants.