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Relocation, Relocation, Relocation: The Cost of Moving

RamRam Posts: 39Member Pioneering
edited February 3 in Guest blogs
Ruth has CP and Perthes' Disease and has recently had to stop teaching English after 25 years. She lives with her husband and Archie the cat.

The reflection on previous experiences

When I was a student, I moved fourteen times. The process was a no-cost one: locate the nearest empty shopping trolley and travel back and forth, loading and unloading. My September relocation, from, Gloucestershire to Durham, has caused me to think fondly of the ease of those earlier, pre-wheelchair-user, days.

white house under maple trees with grass and a white fence surrounding the house

I have been putting off writing this because it’s hard not to sound spoilt. My latest move is, in many respects, a privileged one. It is to a home I have chosen, I have the support of friends and family, and I had some savings. It has also been exhausting and I have repeatedly discovered that accessible means expensive. I’m not able to teach, at the moment, so budget options would have been useful.

The emotional toll of extra disability costs

The worst thing is that the additional financial burden came with an emotional toll, reminding me that my impairment is worsening, that I don’t have many choices and that access, for disabled people, is still so poor.

The moving process

We made lots of move-related decisions that could have been cheaper if I had better mobility: the estate agent that did viewings, the packing service, that I Initially kidded myself I didn’t need, and the pricey removal firm. We needed one that could leave us with furniture the night before setting off because sleeping and sitting on the floor are skills I no longer possess, particularly when I have a long car journey the next day.

Our new home itself

It’s a bungalow, somewhere flat, with space to add an accessible bathroom and it should still work if I lose more mobility. I like it a lot, but it came at a premium and there weren’t many available.

The worry of things not meeting your needs

And then there is the risk of spending money on the wrong things. I don’t mean a sofa that looked great in the shop but seems to have doubled in size once it’s in my living room. I’m talking about higher stakes, the physical and health consequences of making a bad purchase.

Will my new home be warm enough to keep my muscles moving?

Will the wheelchair routes to bus stops be as good as they seemed when I tried them out?

As I type this I am nursing the kind of grazed knees that look more at home on a five-year-old because I fell foul of a kerbstone, tipped into the road and was forced to face the reality that I am more at risk in unfamiliar surroundings.

And the new sofa, or mattress, or bathroom.

Will they help my independence, or will I make the wrong choice and be rewarded with worse pain, less energy, end up feeling foolish?

Will I have to settle for grey functionality, or will I be able to afford, or even find, furniture, fixtures and fittings that make me happy when I look at them?

Will my move, after all that money has been spent, make me feel more disabled?

The changes that moving to a new house cause

My first few months in Durham have also underlined how much disabled bureaucracy costs. I have had to apply for a new Blue Badge, bus pass and congestion zone exemption. To do these things I have needed internet, a phone, printer, envelopes and stamps. I am lucky and can afford them but many disabled people cannot. Yet again there has been an emotional cost. I have had to chase, repeatedly list what I cannot do, make complaints and worry that, this time, I might not qualify.  

Ruth sat down in a red raincoat she has big green leaves in front of her

It may be that money can’t buy happiness, but it can certainly buy mobility. Ideally, my move would have come with a new power-assist wheelchair. I guess that most people who relocate to Durham might need a new pair of shoes, to tackle the numerous hills and cobbles, and this is my equivalent. Unfortunately it would be at least a hundred times more expensive than new footwear.

A chauffeur/PA and WAV, at least for the first few months, would have transformed my settling-in. I don’t know my new area, have a brain injury that makes driving, and memorising routes, impossible and it’s winter. Don’t get me wrong, I can use public transport, but I have lost my repertoire of accessible places in the move and I need to build a new one. By bus, the process is slow, emotionally draining and weather-dependent.

After all of that, I am enjoying getting to know a new place but my reserves have taken a knock. Disabled people will often have to face relocating because of a worsening health, or financial situation, just when those reserves are at their lowest. We need a society that better understands our needs and can support us as those needs inevitably change.

Need help with the costs of moving? Take a look at information and advice.

Have you faced extra costs when moving to a new house? Do you need extra support to settle in? Let us know in the comments below!

Replies

  • pollyanna1052pollyanna1052 Posts: 1,668Member Disability Gamechanger
    Hi Ruth, wow Ruth! What a lot you have undertaken and thankyou so much, for taking the time (and no doubt energy too) to share it all with us.

    You have raised issues which might not be obvious when we think about moving house..let alone to a completely new area and type of terrain!

    I wish you good luck and happiness...and health too.... as you settle in and find your feet...or should that be wheels!!!

    Best wishes, Pollsxxx

  • RamRam Posts: 39Member Pioneering
    Thanks for reading Polls and for wishing me luck. I’m enjoying Durham (which is lucky as I don’t think I would have the energy to do it all again!!). Not for a few years anyway 🙂.pollyanna1052 said:
    Hi Ruth, wow Ruth! What a lot you have undertaken and thankyou so much, for taking the time (and no doubt energy too) to share it all with us.

    You have raised issues which might not be obvious when we think about moving house..let alone to a completely new area and type of terrain!

    I wish you good luck and happiness...and health too.... as you settle in and find your feet...or should that be wheels!!!

    Best wishes, Pollsxxx


  • GarzaGarza Posts: 68Member Courageous
    I am a council tenant with a partially adapted property, I am a wheelchair user full time, my partner lives in another country and I have found it impossible to be able to move nearer to here, private landlords do not want to take people on benefits, the local council said because I had not any local connection I would never get a property so I am basically trapped in my current situation 

    Just for clarity my partner cannot move nearer to me because of her work and other commitments and we cannot live together because i would lose my benefits
  • RamRam Posts: 39Member Pioneering
    Garza said:
    I am a council tenant with a partially adapted property, I am a wheelchair user full time, my partner lives in another country and I have found it impossible to be able to move nearer to here, private landlords do not want to take people on benefits, the local council said because I had not any local connection I would never get a property so I am basically trapped in my current situation 

    Just for clarity my partner cannot move nearer to me because of her work and other commitments and we cannot live together because i would lose my benefits
    I’m really sorry to hear about your situation; I think there are so many systems, and bits of infrastructure, that make it difficult for disabled people to have choices. I know that I have more than many people. 
  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,647Member - under moderation Disability Gamechanger
    Hello again!

    Until August of 2018, we were living in a farmhouse in the countryside. The property was completely unsuitable for my son and daughter. I was renting at the time. But the rustic old farmhouse was not designed for a wheelchair. It was really frustrating for sure. Even going to doctor appointments or meeting friends in town was hard. 

    Every time I had to physically lift my son out of his wheelchair and also watch my daughter, whilst my partner searched for his keys so that he could open the door. So I immediately began researching other properties for sale on the market. My partner had also gotten a brilliant job offer. 

    After about six months, I found a ideal flat in another part of Surrey. I fell in love with it on the spot. We moved into our new flat before the twins were 2 years old. I was happier at once. It meant no more unwanted stress for any of us. I miss that old farmhouse but secretly deep down I still do not regret my decision. Why should I? 

    The old farmhouse was located on the Surrey Kent border and was practically in the middle of nowhere. You had to either walk or drive to the nearest town to the restaurants, pubs, shops or library. Walking was out of the question for our family. So my partner and I discussed our options at night when we were in bed.

    We took some eye catching photos and advertised the farmhouse for sale one day a little more than two years back. I drafted a advertisement to place in property magazines and also the local newspaper. It was a joint decision. He carefully measured the widths of doors. We viewed many different properties. I despaired and I prayed that we would eventually find our ideal dream property in the end. I probably said no to some properties on our short list. Upon viewing them I found them inappropriate. 

    Finding a nice place to live is doable. Hard but not impossible. 
  • AilsAils Posts: 1,601Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Ram, thanks for writing such an interesting and helpful post.  My husband and I are currently looking into moving house so this will be especially helpful to us as I have Spina Bifida and not so able as I once was in previous moves.  I hope your move to Durham has went well for you and I wish you all the very best in your new home!  :smile:
  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,647Member - under moderation Disability Gamechanger
    These are my tips for buying a house

    1- Think outside the box. Don’t just settle for the first property you see, but try to view up to six houses or flats. Pay attention to your instinct as well. What matters to you personally? Make two lists, one of questions to ask, and one of any positive and negative things. Trust me, this will help you choose a nice property. Note down all useful information like house number or the name of the street. Get contact details in case. Involve your kids in the process. 
    2-Ensure that you read the inspection report carefully. Discuss any issues with your estate agent. Talk with other property buyers. Always read the property details properly. Be flexible. I and my partner viewed eight or nine properties over several days and we rejected some in the end. Request a full survey to be done. Do not be carried away by glossy photos of a property. Avoid rash impulsive decisions. We are moving this May out of our flat into a ranch house.
    3-Be honest. Never mislead potential sellers. Make them feel welcome. Offer them a cup of tea or a biscuit as they walk in. 
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Posts: 5,363Administrator Scope community team
    edited January 31
    Disabled people will often have to face relocating because of a worsening health, or financial situation, just when those reserves are at their lowest. 
    This is so true. Thanks for such an insightful blog as always @Ram.
    Senior Community Partner
    Scope
  • RamRam Posts: 39Member Pioneering
    Thanks and thanks for reading.
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