Although the development of the property took almost an additional 3 months to complete due to COVID-19, read how we supported these four gentleman into their adapted and personalised forever-home.
Pat, Stevie and Gary had been living together for over 10 years. When Thera started supporting them, they were living with three others in a 6-bed property. After some careful matching work between the six individuals, two gentlemen moved out as they were not happy living together with the others and eventually, the fourth gentlemen moved out as well.
Their property was huge and beautiful, however as Gary, Pat and Stevie got older, the property became unsuitable to their increasing mobility needs. Stevie either uses a wheelchair or uses a rollator to get around. This meant that he was only able to access the ground floor of the property after a while and not able to enjoy his home to the full. Pat recently started to get unsure about his footing on the stairs and Gary, who chooses to move around the house on all-fours, started having falls down the stairs.
Initially, Thera worked with Devon County Council to find ways of making their existing home safe for them. However, most ideas, such as a stair lift, would have limited Gary’s independence to be able to move around his home as he pleased. Everyone agreed that it was in the three gentlemen’s best interest to move to new home, where there were no stairs. This would allow all three of them to access their entire home safely and comfortably far into the future.
Thera worked with Forward Housing and Empower Housing Association to find a suitable property. After looking at a number of different ones, we found the perfect little bungalow that sat on a big enough plot to be extended into a beautiful and fully accessible 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom property. After going through what each individual needed from their new home, Empower was ready to get to work to draw up the plans that were specific to each individuals needs.
In the meantime, we started involving a fourth gentleman who was looking for a new home. Pete, is also supported by Thera and we thought he would be a good match to live with Stevie, Pat and Gary. We completed a housing needs assessment with him as well to find out what he would need from his new home, then the development of the new property began.
Although the development of the property took almost an additional 3 months to complete due to COVID-19, it makes a wonderfully adapted and personalised forever-home for the four gentlemen. It was worth the wait!
Two out of the three bathrooms in the property have specialist baths, which were identified with the support of an Occupational Therapist. The third bathroom has a low level bath, which can be taken out at any time to create a wet room with a shower, should the individual’s needs change.
The location of the gentlemen’s bedrooms in the house have been chosen according to their needs and preferences. For example, Stevie, who uses a wheelchair and a rollator has direct access to the garden from his room via a ramp, which allows him to access all parts of his new home easily. Gary who loves to see who is coming to visit, has his room to the front of the house. There are two doors to access each communal area with the ability to separate the lounge from the dining area, should someone want to take some time out away from the main action.
All four bedrooms were decorated according to the individuals’ taste and whether they wanted wall-paper or paint on their wall; the window blinds and the colour of the built-in wardrobes have also been matched to their chosen colour scheme. The garden is now fully accessible for all four gentlemen and they have started using it independently of support staff (this was not possible at their old properties).
The garden also includes a specially designed area for each individual. For example, Gary has two chickens who have moved with him to his new home, Nanny and Bob, and who have a lovely place right behind the kitchen. Stevie has acquired a brand new sensory shed in the garden, which he can access any time through the ramp from his room. Both Pat and Pete also have their rest areas and specialist sensory plant exhibit.
The dining area is large enough for all 4 gentlemen to sit and eat together at the same time, as well as take part in meal preparations, whilst their front garden is large enough to accommodate all four of their mobility vehicles.
This has definitely been a team effort. All sides have really worked very hard together to make this happen for the guys: Thera, Devon County Council, Forward Housing, Empower, Popes (the builders) the Occupational Therapist, First Class Builders (who supplied the baths), everyone! And I can confidently say that the families are very happy with result! I genuinely think that it has improved the quality of life of all four gentlemen.” Yvette, Community Support Leader
Find out more about the four gentleman’s friendship and matching process