Disabled man frustrated by lack of independence at St Albans assisted care home
- Credit: Debbie White
A fiercely independent disabled man is frustrated as he cannot close his front door or access the rooftop garden at a recently opened assisted care home in St Albans.
Ian Bangs, 48, who suffers from the neurological condition Multiple Sclerosis (MS), moved into Parkside View, formerly known as Caroline Sharpe House, in Chiltern Road, near the Jersey Farm woodland park, six weeks ago.
He was diagnosed with MS, which affects nerves in the brain and spinal cord, about six months after his 40th birthday, and depends upon either a three-wheel triangle-framed walker or a mobility scooter.
While he likes living at Parkside View, where residents have carers to assist when needed, “one of my bugbears is that, being in a wheelchair, there is no way I can get to the rooftop garden by myself, because of the heavy fire doors.”
Ian has to call a carer - which irks him - to open the doors between the dining room and the garden on the top floor each time he wants to access it, as they are too heavy and do not open automatically.
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Another problem is that once outside in the garden, enjoying the expansive countryside views, he cannot get back inside as apart from the heavy doors, there is no call button for him to push for help.
Ian said: “I would go to the rooftop garden more often if I could, even just for 10 minutes would be nice. But I’m trapped. I can’t get out of my scooter to push the door.
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“It’s all very well saying to call a carer to help, but being disabled, you don’t want to ask everyone to do this or that for you.”
He also has problems with the front door to his ground floor unit which does not shut by itself and is extremely heavy for him to close, especially as his “condition has gone downhill”.
Stephanie Hoare, care manager at North Hertfordshire Homes, said: “Mr Bangs has explained his frustrations to us and we’re working with the Herts county council’s occupational therapist team to see what appropriate adaptations can be made in his flat.
“We’ve asked Mr Bangs for his patience while we sort things out because we need to ensure that we put the right things in place to best support him living independently.
“We’re also looking at push button access for the doors to the rooftop garden as they are proving too heavy for some residents to open and close. Staying independent for as long as possible is a key part of our flexi-care offer.”