Five Neighbours

Five neighbours talk about the suitability of their homes.

Moira and Vernon moved into their family home over 40 years ago, after starting married life in a company house supplied by Vernon's work. All their children were raised in this home, and they have no intentions of moving any time soon, even though Vernon is now in a wheelchair. As Moira says, they like where they are living and their spacious surroundings. They like to have the space to display their antiques collection, and it's useful to have extra space for family when they visit. They've had some modifications done, but they'd like to improve the design of their home to better fit the new wheelchair, and they're researching a more efficient heating system.

Their neighbours, Duncan and Tui, have lived in their three-bedroom family home for over 50 years. They too love their home and, at the moment, are managing to keep the house as they like it. They find the house is not too big for them; for the most part, they like its design; and, over the years, they've upgraded their heating and insulation. They feel at home in the neighbourhood, where they have some long-term, close friends. Tui especially loves the location, close to a large park where she can walk their dogs and with some of her relations living nearby.

Duncan's health has deteriorated in the last few years though. Although they have already installed a wet-area shower, the separate toilet room is too small, and they would like to find a better solution for the bathroom and toilet areas. Duncan says that they are seriously thinking about their situation, and he does worry about becoming less mobile.

Walter, living a few houses up the same street, has a three-bedroom home on a big section that he bought 20 years ago after his marriage broke up. He's proud of his big garden, which is filled with fruit and nut trees, berry fruits and a large vegetable patch.

But his children have told him they are worried about him climbing ladders to do the pruning and the large number of steps up into the house. In fact, Walter has had several falls in the last year and has had to stop driving because of health issues. So, he is thinking of moving to a small unit closer in to town. The unit is on the flat, there are no steps, and house and garden maintenance is taken care of by a body corporate. Walter mentions that it's well set up - there's even a raised garden bed if he wants to grow some vegetables.

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