Maria Reo suffered a series of strokes 10 years ago that left her in a wheelchair. She can no longer walk because of the weakness in her left side, which throws her off balance.
She had to leave her private rental in Hamilton because it wasn’t accessible – her wheelchair couldn’t fit through the bathroom door.
But worse was to come. Maria ended up exchanging her home for a cold, damp granny flat in a converted garage with the heater going all the time.
“It started to leak and I got them in to have a look. I said it wasn’t dry – the water was running down the wall.” But Maria says the property manager was not prepared to do anything about it.
“It wasn’t very long before I moved out of there to here. I couldn’t handle it anymore.”
In September last year Maria was finally able to move into an accessible unit in Whitiora, Hamilton, and living has suddenly got easier.
“In the other place, I would get a cold and that would be me for the rest of the season. Here I am lovely and warm all the time.”
Maria needs help with personal care and meals these days, but her daughter Raima lives only five minutes away and it’s easy for her to drop in every day to help her Mum.