For many Irish Wheelchair Association members, our Think Ahead Think Housing campaign has really impacted them and struck a chord.
In 2015 Liz Leamy was just 42 when she suffered a stroke that brought dramatic changes to her health and quality of life. At the time, her third and youngest child was just six years old.
While she regained much of her mobility at first, Liz now says she regrets not thinking about housing and her long-term housing needs sooner. “I was laid back thinking ‘oh, it’ll be fine, I’ll get better’, but it was the other way around” she says. “I should have started getting everything in place the year I got my stroke. Not waiting years down the line.”
Liz is very eager for people like her to think about their home and whether it is adapted and safe. After her stroke, Liz and her husband couldn’t renovate their rental home to make it safer for her and suitable for HSE homecare support. Over the years, she has had some falls and accidents at home alone, and today Liz is in a wheelchair.
Liz says suitable housing is so important, “It’s really important.” she says. “It has cost me my future now. I used to be able to drive after my stroke, but now I’ve lost the power of my right hand and left leg. That is a huge loss for my independence.”
Liz and her family applied for social housing and now hope to have an accessible home by the end of 2022. However, their new home will be 25mins outside Ennis town, leaving Liz very isolated and dependent without a car. But at this point her family has no choice and needs a home. “What I would be saying to people is when an accident happens that is the time to get ahead of it. Don’t wait until things get worse, which is what happened to me” she says.
“I am really for this campaign. I am in a wheelchair now, but I try to stay positive” says Liz. She hopes her story and this campaign will help other people, “This campaign has really opened my eyes. I am getting a house, but I want to look out for other people too” she says.
For more details, visit our Think Ahead, Think Housing page