28/08/2016

Finding a Wheelchair Accessible Property

Being a wheelchair user creates all sorts of accessibility problems in all walks of life from a simple trip to the theatre, restaurant, booking a holiday or just a day out involves a great deal of planning and numerous phone calls to make sure that the place you want to visit is accessible and you won’t be greeted by a flight of stairs, non-accessible WC or corridors or entrance doors that are impossible to get through in your wheelchair.

Thanks to the Disability Discrimination Act (now the Equality Act 2010) many of these places are now accessible but we still need to check and if not make alternative arrangements such as visiting a different theatre, restaurants etc, however, if you are a wheelchair user and you are looking to buy or rent a property you will undoubtedly find yourself facing major barriers due to very few estate agents having any knowledge of what is an accessible property and this includes the major online property experts that have not yet woken up to the requirements of the Equality Act and the needs of the disabled.

Thankfully there is an accessible property specialist out there that has fully taken on board the needs of the disabled when buying or renting a property as well as offering management services to owners looking to find suitable disabled, wheelchair user tenants.

 

What Is an Accessible Property


This greatly depends on your disability and your exact needs, a wheelchair user for example will require either a level or ramped entrance, doors wide enough for wheelchair access, ground floor facilities such as a WC/wet room large enough to cater for a wheelchair user transferring on and off their chair as well as room for a carer if needed and off course a bedroom that offers enough space to manoeuvre etc.

People with vision impairments will be greatly assisted by doors, steps, handrails and any obstacles contrasting strongly in colour, such as dark coloured door against light walls; many vision impaired people will not see a white door located against a white wall.

 

How do you Find an Accessible Property


This can be tricky and a lengthy as well as frustrating search if you use the everyday estate agent, most property sales and letting agent will think about where the nearest school, railway or major road network is if you ask them about “accessibility” so if you take this route be prepared for a lengthy search.

Thankfully there is a property sales and letting agency called Branch Properties that specialise in finding accessible housing to buy or to let as well as helping sell your wheelchair adapted or accessible property by connecting you to disabled people serious about buying or letting.

This unique and personal service has been a long time coming and fills a much needed gap for people with disabilities that need an accessible property. Check them out by clicking any of the highlighted links or call them direct on 020 3475 4022 to cut through the minefield of buying or renting a property that meets your personal needs.

Branch Properties also provide dedicated property management services, so if you are the owner of an accessible property and you want to let it to a disabled person of family with a wheelchair user why not give them a call and get connected to a trustworthy and suitable tenant just waiting to rent your property. 



13/07/2016

Riser Recliner Chair Review

If you are reading this riser recliner chair review you have probably arrived here because you are confused and wanting to know more about these specially designed chairs, if one would be beneficial to you and the type of design that would best meet your needs. 

This review is written by somebody that uses a riser recliner as opposed to the many reviews that are created using information gathered from other related websites etc. I suggest that you read through the information below and then make contact with a reputable supplier to discuss your exact needs in greater detail. I would not recommend not going to an everyday furniture supplier for this type of chair.

First of all you need to think why you want a riser recliner chair, is it purely for comfort or because you have a medical or mobility problem that results in you being in pain in a traditional design armchair or you have problems getting up to a standing position from your current chair. 

If it is purely for comfort then this article is not for you, you would be better off visiting your local furniture store and taking time to try out the various armchairs and settees to find one that is the most comfortable for you. If however you do suffer pain in your current seating or have problems rising then read on for some basic facts including details of the different designs and the mechanisms used.

Riser recliner chairs basically do two things and are assisted by electric motors to take the effort out of getting the chair into the position that is best for you and your personal needs as well as gently helping you into a standing position.

Single and dual motor riser recliners 

A single motor riser recliner has one motor that operates the backrest and foot rest at the same time and does not offer the option of adjusting the foot rest to meet your individual height needs including having the foot rest in the lower position if required.

A dual motor riser recliner allows the backrest and foot rest to work independently and gives you the option of maximising your seating position. With his option you can recline your chair fully with or without the foot rest or simply raise the foot rest while your chair remains in the right position.
Both the single and dual models will help you into a standing position.

It is a sad fact that many people continue to struggle to get in and out of their old faithful armchair, many people add chair rises to the legs (not recommended) to give the chair extra height. This can cause stability problems both because it forces you to sit at a higher, unnatural height but more importantly can be dangerous to get out of until you become fully aware of the height differences.

My particular preference is the dual motor riser recliner because this offers greater options for your comfort; especially if you occasionally wish to sleep or simply snooze in your chair and want to be as comfortable as possible as well as knowing that it will help you get out of the chair when needed.
Having dealt with several suppliers of these type of chairs I can recommend Willowbrook Mobility Direct, I have found they offer great independent advice as well as a brochure to help you make your own mind up and a free home demo if required. 

View a useful riser recliner video guide by following the highlighted link or call them today on 0800 854 330 for more information and advice.


27/05/2016

Campaign For Disabled Nappy Changing Facilities

Parents and carers of severely disabled adults and children that need to wear nappies have virtually no facilities outside of their adapted homes should their nappy need changing. This is a long-standing problem that is yet to be addressed by the Equality Act.

Thankfully the parents and carers have a campaign called Space to Change on their side that is battling on a daily basis to try to get adult changing facilities available in public places such as large restaurant chains, hospitals and clinics and public venues where possible.
Space To Change
Visit Space to Change

It was not that many years ago that disabled WC facilities were virtually unheard of in public places so with your help things can hopefully change for the better and start including standalone changing facilities for adults and children the same way that we now commonly have baby changing facilities for parents of children and toddlers.

The Space to Change campaign is aiming to convince businesses and public venues to replace their current pull down baby changing units so that they can be height adjustable and of a size that caters for children requiring nappy changing facilities as well as looking to convince the Equality Act 2010 to include a requirement of adult nappy changing facilities the same way that we currently have disabled WC facilities for wheelchair users, the blind etc.

So if all you good people out there in cyberspace could take a few minutes out of your time to check out the Space to Change website and click on the Download Campaign Pack where you will find information about how your assistance can seriously help the campaign.

Visit The Clos-o-Mat Website
The UK’s number one supplier of adult changing facilities is a dedicated and long-standing company called Clos-o-Mat that supply adult size adjustable changing tables with accompanying hoists as well as a whole range of personal hygiene products for adults and children with disabilities including wash and dry toilets offering greater independence, those all-important transferred, grab and support rails, shower seats and many more related products to meet the washing and toileting needs of all disabilities.

Check out the Clos-o-Mat website for full product details including how to receive a no obligation survey for your home, restaurant, business or any other public venue or follow the highlighted link to find out more about the campaign and why we need Changing Places Toilets.

18/05/2016

Learning to Cope with the New Disability

Anybody that has experienced a sudden life changing situation through accident, injury or illness will no doubt be able to fully empathise with this article and in many cases look back and think “yes I could have done it differently to cope better” so I hope that the views of fellow disabled people will not only enable you to continue coping and building a better life but also act as a valuable resource for anybody finding themselves newly disabled and struggling to cope with the massive changes that disability often brings along with it.

Many disabilities can happen in a split second such as spinal or head injury through a road accident, If you are one of the lucky ones you will recover and gain full mobility and be able to continue with your life as before. Sadly many serious accidents or illness will result in a permanent disability that will undoubtedly change your life forever. However as the old saying goes, “life does go on” and in time you will learn to adapt and enjoy life, albeit from a different direction than you may have originally intended.

Give Yourself Time
One of the most important steps that you need to take on your journey to recovery is to allow yourself time to process the situation and although it is very difficult at the time; try not to get too down about worrying about your uncertain future.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask the Help

There will always be situations in our lives where we will need to get help from others and finding yourself suddenly disabled in any shape or form is certainly one of those situations where excepting the help of others will be a valuable step in rebuilding your life. Whatever your situation there are always professionals, support groups and others that fully understand your situation just waiting to help you on your journey to recovery. Never be afraid to ask for help. You will be amazed at the vast support resources out there, simply Google your condition followed by “support groups” and you will undoubtedly find local and national organisations that will prove to be invaluable to you.

Financial Assistance
Never fret about money concerns at this stage but if your disability was caused by a road traffic accident, medical malpractice or workforce accident or any accident that was not your fault you should consider a claim for compensation from a reputable company such as First4SeriousInjury they will offer you a free case evaluation. Other areas to consider when the time is right includes tapping into the many Disabled Facilities Grant’s available from your local council as well as a whole range of other disability grants that may be made available to you.

Learning to Adapt
Although it may not seem immediately obvious you will in time learn to adapt to whatever restrictions your disability gives you and you will ultimately find yourself going in a new and exciting direction that you would never have previously considered. There are many sports, recreational and social activities out there waiting to be discovered as well as numerous opportunities for employment if you are unable to return to your previous job. 

Try to be positive and although all not always possible do try retain your sense of humour. Sometimes in life we only have two options and that is to cry or laugh and laughter is always the better option and remember that whatever life throws at you and however bad you think your life or future will be, “things can only get better” and they will.

22/03/2016

Legal and Practical Help After Spinal Cord Injury

Around 1000 people within the UK and Ireland will receive a substantial spinal cord injury in the next 12 months with the highest rate of injury occurring between the ages of 15 to 38. The most common cause of spinal cord injury are road traffic accidents (36.8%) trips and falls (41.7%) sports injuries with the highest being rugby and horseriding (11.6%) being knocked over or while lifting or colliding with an object such as diving in shallow water (4.2%) and finally trauma causing around 3.3% of injuries.

There is currently no cure for spinal injury or anyway to repair a damaged spinal cord, research continues and although progress is being made, anything resembling a cure or reversal of spinal injury is still very much in the distant future. News and current research programmes can be found on the Spinal Research website at www.spinal-research.org.

A person’s life can change completely after a severe spinal injury, many being confined to a wheelchair and having to rely on carers due to complete or partial paralysis often resulting that after rehabilitation they cannot return to their previous home due to access issues, this obviously means greater emotional upset added to having to learn to live a completely different life with a disability and in many cases with limited funds.

Fieldfisher are experts in all personal injury and medical negligence claims including spinal injury compensation claims, if your injury was caused by negligence or due to the actions of a third party, workplace incompetence or other issues outside of your control you may well be able to make a claim for substantial compensation that could at least help alleviate your financial problems allowing you to adapt and start rebuilding your life.

If compensation is not an option you may be entitled to a Disabled Facilities Grant from your local council, further details can be found on the Gov.UK site or by clicking this Disabled Facilities Grant link.

Thankfully there is a great deal of support provided from the moment that you are admitted to hospital. The Spinal Injury Association (SIA) have a number of dedicated male and female peer support officers that fully understand what you’re going through and will help you rebuild your life through support, outside resources and important information geared toward your exact needs. The SIA offer free advice on 0800 980 0501 or you can chat online or through the website at www.spinal.co.uk.

The important thing to remember is that you are not alone, there is help available and that life does go on and in time you will rebuild your life albeit in a different direction than you originally intended.

As a spinal injury cord person that suffered a C4/5 injury I can tell you that the resources highlighted in this article have been invaluable to me and I hope they are invaluable to you or any of your friends or family members that have recently received a spinal cord injury.

As the now Professor Brian Cox shouted at us when he played keyboards with D:Ream back in 1994 “things can only get better”


07/03/2016

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles from WAV Compare

Oh no I hear you cry, not another price comparison website that’s going to bombard my television with a crazy middle-aged opera singer driving me nuts or some silly robot trying to sell me car insurance or worse still cute little Meerkats that in real life would more than likely rip your arm off (yes sorry to burst your bubble but in reality they are vicious little devils) No, this comparison site is actually very useful and there when you want it rather than screaming at your television screen just as you sit down to watch Heartbeat with a cuppa and a chocolate Hobnob.

WAV Compare is a unique and bespoke website providing the largest online showroom of wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAV). Here you can leisurely search for all types of WAV vehicles including cars, minibuses and vans that you can drive while seated in your wheelchair or rear or upfront passenger options, all available from leading makes and models including luxurious Mercedes, VW, Peugeot, Ford and Fiat models offering you a large selection and multiple colours to choose from to meet your exact wheelchair travel or driving needs.
As well as offering you the chance to purchase a new wheelchair accessible vehicle or lease one from the popular Motability scheme you can also purchase quality used WAV’s at a fraction of the new cost or even sell your own vehicle. 

All of this can be done at your leisure through the WAV Compare website where you can also select a range of features including chair lift options, manual or powered ramps, winches, rear or side wheelchair access and many more features to make your wheelchair travel easier and in many cases independent. Driving option and adaptations are also catered for in your online search should you require hand controls or adapted accelerator pedals etc.

Why go to one dealership and be offered one or two makes and models when you can find the U.K.’s largest selection at the click of a mouse. 

Search by your postcode to select WAV vehicles near to you by going to the WAV Compare website and start saving as well as having a greater choice to meet your individual needs.

One thing you won’t get is painfully repetitive, annoying blah blah blah compare songs that will get into your head and drive you mad. Just loads of choice, real bargains, and dedicated wheelchair accessible vehicle sales. 

01/03/2016

Using a walking Stick - Safety Measures for Using a Walking Stick

Once you have measured yourself correctly for the correct height walking stick and you are holding it in the hand opposite to the affected leg or side of you, there are some hazards inside and outside to be mindful of before you begin walking with a stick.

Starting inside the home, beware of carpets, rugs and door thresholds that have loose corners or raised edges, always make sure matting is firmly fixed. Wet floors should be avoided completely as even rubber ferrules can loose their grip on wet floors. Recently mopped floors, kitchens, bathrooms and entrance hallways should be dried and checked before walking on them using a stick or crutches.

Going back to ferrules, it is best to check the state of the ferrule on your walking stick every few weeks to make sure it has not worn down and if it has, replace it as soon as you can.

Many main indoor hazards can be avoided by having good lighting in your home. Energy saving light bulbs are great, but you need to wait for them to fully light before you can walk up stairs and actually see where you are going! Good lighting in your hallway, on the landing and up the stairs are very important to help prevent tripping up or over something in the dark.

The NHS advice for going up and down the stairs with a walking stick is to use the handrail and ensure the stick goes on the same step as the affected leg. The unaffected leg should lead going upstairs, and the affected leg when coming down.

For outside use, there are some straight forward and some unusual things to look out for when walking with a stick. Wet, icy, muddy and uneven surfaces and pavements need to be walked on with care and areas with wet leaves and snow are best avoided. Tiled areas and ground covered in slippery algae are also hazards.

Drain covers with the rows of stick sized gaps are quite a trap for the unassuming pedestrian. It is very easy to get your walking stick stuck in one of those gaps or even worse fall and injure yourself!

To sum up, being safe indoors and outdoors means being beware of wet surfaces, replacing the rubber ferrule on your stick regularly and keeping your indoor environment well lit.