Housebound is one for those emotive words that the media loves to use, and it is often a term that is used incorrectly. Housebound means being unable to leave your home for reasons beyond your control, whether that is for physical, emotional or other reasons.
I understand the term from direct experience. In 2009, I had an acute nerve virus that left me paralysed from the navel downwards, on top of lifelong cerebral palsy. This required 6 months rehab to walk in my own fashion again as well as restoring other function.
Since I lived in a first floor flat this time which had no lift, I was truly housebound for ten weeks until I learnt to walk again. Also when the virus began and I lost the ability to weight bear, I was bed bound for 6 days until a hoist could be installed.
I can also understand how a number of emotional issues including a number of phobias could make it impossible for someone to leave their home, which is as serious as any physical reasons.
For me, this is the true meaning of these terms. I am therefore frustrated and annoyed when the term housebound is used incorrectly to elicit pity, something Guardian journalist Frances Ryan and others do. Not having a car or having inaccessible accommodation may cause difficulties and could reduce your opportunities and options, but it certainly does not make you housebound.
Let’s take someone losing their Motability car for a moment because fundamentally their level of impairment does make them qualify for a perceived level of disadvantage. Firstly, this does not stop them purchasing or leasing a car in the same way as millions of other people do, who never have access to Motability in the first place.
Secondly, not having a car does not change their personal mobility solution, like a wheelchair or walking stick, and therefore with the dramatic improvements over the last 25 years, they have access to a more accessible public transport system than journalists like Frances would like you to know or admit.
This means that while some people can feel housebound, it is just an attitude as opposed to something real. If they were more positive about their situation, then they found always find solutions to overcome their new situation. This is however something people like Frances fear and try to avoid as they use people’s misery and frustration to attack the government and defend the medical model thinking of the communist solutions presented by Labour.
The term Housebound has sadly now been turned into another word of fear within the left wing’s poverty rhetoric, making disability just another term for poverty, excluding real disabled people, those who face real social disadvantage, not just feel negative because of their relevantly minor impairments, which is anyone these days.
I find it very offensive when Frances uses the term housebound incorrectly, undermining the experience of those who have truly been housebound. People’s own attitude is often their biggest social advantage and we should as a society help them to overcome their own demons, not reward them, take a photo of them and then plaster them all over the media for other people’s enjoyment. But Frances is paid to abuse disabled people and she is never going to let anything as unimportant the truth get in the way of that.
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