Special Needs Families: The Stress of Moving House

Ceri-Ann Brown by Ceri-Ann Brown Additional Needs

Ceri-Ann Brown

Ceri-Ann Brown

My name is Ceri-Ann Brown and I live in Stockport, Manchester. I live with the love of my life Phil, my amazing daughter (Amy-Rose) and my giant gu...

I have never been divorced, nor married, but I can certainly concur that moving house is up there for me on most stressful thing ever.

Like many special needs families we have been on a long waiting list for adapted housing for quite some time.

We owned our house but it wasn't adaptable, at all.

You could not move for equipment and tube feeding supplies.

We were awash in a sea of Amy's essentials.

It was really, really hard.

Coming up and down the stairs with her was both dangerous and terrifying in equal measure.

Imagine my surprise to get a call from our local housing team to say that they had a bungalow ready for us to view?

It's extraordinary how this came about.

The house is owned by a charity who up until now have only helped elderly and elderly disabled people.

They bought this house and approached housing asking who may be in need.

They asked if they were open to the idea of helping a family with a child with a disability.

They had never considered this before.

Like many people in a position to help - there isn't enough awareness of the difficulties families like ours can face.

They accepted us!

We met a few times, did various bits of paperwork and pretty much overnight were lumbered with the prospect of moving house.

Something I expected to happen either in years and years time, or when my back finally gives in and we physically couldn't continue.

I was astonished.

If this all works out well it will hopefully mean that the charity can help more families like ours.

So obviously I am doing all with in my remit to make this arrangement highly successful.

It has been a dream come true but also a deeply difficult time. We have to sell our old house in order to rent this one.

Our old house had become neglected. I mean, why spend loads of money maintaining a house that isn't for you?

For at least a year now I had mentally checked out of our old house.

I would leave at every chance I had to escape the sad reality of the situation.

So the last few months has had us painting and doing tip runs etc. every time Amy is in school or respite.

It has been the most arduous, upsetting, physically and mentally draining time.

I know how grateful I am that we have this perfect new house but at the same time... working, buying a house, settling is sort of the done thing.

It has felt like a huge backwards step having to sell and then rent.

I am still now wrapping my head around it.

The amount of work that has gone into this move is staggering.

I remembered last time we moved saying, "We are NEVER doing this again." I really mean it this time!!

If I did have another child that may present a problem, but that is a whole separate blog entry in itself.

The trust/charity have been incredible.

They aren't just "landlords", they care and want this place to work for us.

They are re-doing the drive way to improve safety and wheelchair accessibility, everywhere is decorated immaculately.

There is space for equipment.

We even now have a hoist!

Everything is so much easier.

We never could have afforded to buy a house like this.

I so badly empathise with people in our situation and I hope hard everyday that one of our close friends become number 1 on that housing list and are offered something that could transform their lives.

The house does not fix Cerebral Palsy, it doesn't fix gastroparesis, it doesn't fix the need for constant physiotherapy and everything else, but it makes all of it so much easier to manage.

I am still in a state of high stress, I will be until our old house is sold.

We have valuations booked in this week and all work on the house is finished.

The whole place has had a fresh coat of paint, a new carpet on the stairs, and my mum and dad were kind enough to pay for someone to come and overhaul the absolute jungle that was our garden.

Initially when we moved it felt like a huge novelty that wherever I am in the house... Amy can be with me.

It has quite literally brought us together as a family!

The house is all on one level and with ease we can move Amy room to room in her stander, seat, or even shower seat.

The house has a big concrete ramp that leads up to double patio doors so we can glide in with Amy's beast of a wheelchair.

Her room is huge. Before she was in a little box room which ONLY fitted her hospital style bed.

All of her furniture lived in our room.

The more I look back at how we lived the more I wonder how long we could have carried on that way. I sincerely hope if you are reading this that you aren't in that situation.

I also feel an element of guilt knowing that there are people out there without homes but I guess it is all relative, our struggles are our struggles and one cannot diminish another.

I just wish so much that everyone has warmth, shelter, a full tummy, love, but also space to breathe.

It's hard enough sometimes living in a world where not everywhere is accessible.

But to live in your own home and it not be safe or accessible is a whole different ball game, and it isn't fair.

I am now seeing every reason we bought that house in the first place.

We moved in there when I was pregnant.

In theory it was to be the best possible first home for a new family.

For an able bodied child it was perfect.

For storing standing frames, wheelchairs, physio benches and so on, it was a nightmare.

It quickly became a small nightmarish equipment warehouse.

Spending all that time in an empty shell of a home knowing how great it will be for the new people makes me both sad and happy.

I am so excited for the time when the house is sold, we have finished sorting this new house, all address changes and annoying paperwork and admin are done... and I can sit in our gorgeous new garden with a brew and say, "We made it".

I want to have a family BBQ to thank everyone who has helped us during this turbulent time, I want to celebrate all the good stuff and think less about the bad.

I can't wait to be better acquainted with our local village, and our local countryside walks.

There is so much to look forward to in life in this new chapter.


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