Friday, 7 September 2007

Agoraphobia and Family Homes

So you've retired, all the children have left home and you're living in a big house. A 4-bedroom house. And you mostly only use one or two of the bedrooms and you've NEVER used the fourth bedroom - it's just been a store room. the house is much too big for just two.

You decide to move house.

You look around for AGES.

What would you end up with?

A two bedroom bungalow (no stairs to negotiate in your later years)? Perhaps a 3-bedroom bungalow, just in case you get lots of visitors at once. Or maybe a modest detached house (you can put in a stair-lift later, if necessary)?

What about this house?

It's got 8 (yes, EIGHT) bedrooms spread over 3 floors. It's got stables, an air-raid shelter (no home should be without one!) and its own fresh-water well. It's even got a basement underneath with a tunnel which leads to a nearby castle! The whole building is not in good repair. A typical home for retirement???

This is what Marie's parents have bought. It's situated on the South coast of England near the sea and close to a military port. Part of the house was originally a 16th century farmhouse while the Georgian wing is the most modern part (except for the purpose-built 2nd world war self-contained air-raid bunker).
The building is believed to have been used for military purposes during the 2nd world war, which would account for the bunker, and the tunnel would have come in useful in the right circumstances. Because of its historical importance, it's a government listed building and requires special planning permission for even the smallest alteration. Oh, and it's supposed to be haunted...

Marie's parents are treating it as their retirement project. They intend to sympathetically restore it and expose all the (many) covered-up period features. If completed the way they visualise it (and fortunately they have enough money to do it), it will become a very desirable and interesting home.

When Marie first visited her new family home, she was little short of panic-stricken. If this had been a hotel, we would definitely NOT have stayed in it. With its long hallways, it is most definitely NOT agoraphobia friendly. Five hours later, she was still anxious, but reasonably comfortable in a couple of the ground-floor rooms. After staying there for a little over a week
(while I took the children on holiday), she became comfortable with the whole building - even the top floor - and part of the front garden. She was even able to explore the windowless bunker. When she had a paranormal experience, feeling drawn to an end bedroom - later identified as the one supposedly occupied by the ghost...she did not know this at the time - it didn't frighten her and she is able to joke about it.

Did her parents take into consideration their daughter's agoraphobia when they decided to purchase this property?

They probably assumed that their daughter would, out of necessity, learn to deal with the building.

And they were right.


Sarah♥ said...

Wow..Thats not a "house", its a freaking mansion. It makes my humble abode look very similar to a rabbit hutch...or maybe a hamster cage. Yes, a hamster cage.

I don't think on a personal level the size house would bother me, the journey to it would.

Hope you all had a wonderful week..

Sarah x

lady thinker said...

Just dropped in - am a carer too. Will be back. We also had an agoraphobic member in our family ...

Robert said...

Hi Sarah -

I'd rather live in a comfortable, homely hamster cage than a run-down draughty mansion.

In a previous existence, when I needed to impress people, I used to live in a 4 rec 6 bed 4bath house with 6 acres of garden (I might return to this in a future post). Never again! Now I prefer my home to fit my needs, not feed my ego.


Robert said...

Dear Lady Thinker...

Congratulations! You're the 1st carer to post on my blog!

And you're only the 2nd carer to contact me. The other, an Australian bloke, communicates with me by email.

Thanks for dropping in.


zenfrog said...

Hi all

I wanted to add that I am also a carer. My friend, who lives with me, has manic depression.

Robert said...

Congratulations! You're the 2nd carer to post on my blog!

And you're only the 3rd carer to contact me.

Forgive the flippancy...perhaps we'll learn a little about this on your blog, in due course?