30/07/2015

Stair lifts for Tricky Staircases

Stair lifts are a real blessing for those who own homes with more than one floor. Unfortunately, there’s a common misconception that stair lifts can only be used on standard stair cases. This is not the case. In fact, you can install one in practically any home to help retain your independence and prevent you having to move into specialised accommodation.

Why choose a stair lift?
Stair lifts are motorised devices to help you get up and down staircases. Many models can be configured to work with a wheelchair, so they’re suitable for many different illnesses and disabilities. However, due to the size of most lifts, they can struggle with narrow stairways.

Although they are designed to work under loads, you’ll need to check any potential lift to make sure it can carry your weight. They have a lifespan of ten years at the least, but longevity depends on how frequently you use them. 

Stair lift are a sometimes costly investment, retailing for £1800 and up when purchased new. However, refurbished options are available which will significantly reduce costs. For most suffering disabilities, you can apply for a home improvement grant to spend on fitting a lift. 

Different styles of stair lift
There are a number of styles of lift that may suit your needs. The following are all tailored to a specific requirement and which one you choose should be assessed by a qualified advisor, like an occupational therapist. The options available are:

Straight Stair lift: Straight stair lifts are the type most commonly seen in homes. These are straightforward affairs with a chair and footplate alongside the necessary safety features. You can also find outdoor versions of these lifts that are weatherproofed.

Curved Stair Lift: Curved stair lifts are designed to cope with a curve or turn in your staircase, making them ideal for tricky stairs. They can be designed with space saving in mind as fold-away models and are suitable for lots of different styles of staircase. There’s more information on curved stair lifts available at Ideal Stair lifts. 

Perch Stair Lift: There are some disabilities that restrict the ease of sitting down. A perch stairlift can help you in this case. These units allow you to use a lift without having to sit, instead leaning back on a supportive panel and slight seat so that you ‘perch’ on the lift. 

Spiral and Tight Stair Lift: Designed for the hardest to outfit homes, these stair lifts can be fitted in narrow staircases and spiral stairs, meaning even if you live in an older-style period home you can find a stair lift to help give you access to your upper floors. 

A note on purchasing
Buying a stairlift can be expensive if you don’t get help towards the final price. However, you can always buy a reconditioned lift which significantly reduces the cost. These lifts are still tested and maintained to the highest standard and can be purchased from trusted providers like Ideal Stairlifts. Ultimately, it’s a question of whether a slight investment in a stair lift outweighs the impact of having to move homes. 


28/07/2015

Renovating a Home to Create a Disabled Friendly Living Space

Whether you experience it yourself or you care for someone who is disabled, building a home that is disability friendly can be a huge undertaking, especially if you’re not sure what to focus on. Thankfully we’ve compiled a list of the main areas you’ll need to change to make your home accessible for yourself and guests.

Entrances
Entering your home can be a chore if it is not disability-friendly, so this is the first and most vital part of making a home disability-friendly. A garden and driveway that uses loose or unsteady material can be hard to cross in a wheelchair. Instead, use smooth paving or concrete to create a steady, even surface, avoid deep gravel. 

If the approach or entrance is stepped, consider installing a ramp into your home if you haven’t already. This may be a smaller ramp or a longer, winding one depending on the steepness needed to breach. 

Hallways
Hallways should be free from clutter and spaced to allow wheelchair access. You should keep shoes and other items that typically line hallways in dedicated storage. Ensure lighting is of a reasonable brightness and easy to operate so you aren’t left struggling in the dark. 

Bathrooms
Installing a ground-level bathroom in a house with more than one floor can be a real blessing for disabled or elderly home-owners. While you can install devices to help tackle stairs, sometimes the speed and convenience that a downstairs bathroom provides is essential.

A bathroom should be designed with a similar ethos to hallways – with clutter minimised and space maximised. Toilets should be fitted with safety rails and possibly a hoist. If you use a bath it should be fitted with the relevant safety features. A shower too, should be designed around accessibility. Walk in wet-rooms are accessible and far safer than other forms of bathing, so consider installing one if its within your means.

Kitchen
Your kitchen is the hub of activity in your home and also a source of fierce independence. To ensure you can use it independently, it may be worth lowering all of the worktops. You can also install a lowered sink. Ensure all appliances can be reached easily and that any difficult to turn handles are replaced with levers and simple controls. 

Staircases
While it may be advisable to move to a bungalow, there are many of us who won’t give up our homes. The main problem faced at home for most disabled and elderly users comes from the stairs. Thankfully, a good stair lift goes a long way to remedying the problem. Even in a home that has a complicated, multi-level staircase, you can use a platform stairlift to help you access the second floor.

Improving your home and incorporating these elements is an essential step for those experiencing disability or caring for a disabled person. These additions and adjustments will secure a home for future use, meaning you may not have to leave your pride and joy to move into more accessible accommodations. 

Obviously every home and every disabled persons needs vary, these are just ideas and we hope you found them informative.

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