Sep 10

Disabled Homeseekers ‘Struggling’ To Find Suitable Accommodation

Matthew

Disabled people looking for somewhere to live are finding it so hard to access suitable accommodation that they’re experiencing mental and emotional distress as a result.

This is according to a new piece of research from the University of Stirling, Housing Options Scotland and the Horizon Housing Association.

The Match Me study, which looked into the effectiveness of lettings and allocations practice for adapted and accessible social housing in Scotland, also found that the assessment of a property’s suitability should consider both the access and internal features but also the accessibility of the external environment and how easy it would be for someone to maintain local support networks.

Lead author professor Isobel Anderson said: “Disabled people and their families should have equal housing opportunities and the right to an accessible home in the community that ensures and protects their human rights.

“This academically rigorous report gives all stakeholders the opportunity and evidence to shape lettings policy and practice to optimise effectiveness in matching disabled people to suitable homes, as well as increasing our stock of accessible housing.”

Disability Horizons has a useful accessible housing guide for those looking for somewhere to live, which could help them on their search.

If you have no plans to move but want to make sure that your current house suits your particular needs, adaptations like small walk in baths and similar could prove useful. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch with us today. We specialise in mobility bathrooms, providing a well designed and reliable service.

Aug 29

New Homes ‘Need Higher Accessibility Standards’

Matthew

A new factsheet launched earlier this month by Age UK and Habinteg is calling for all new homes in the UK to be constructed to higher accessibility standards.

The organisations have pointed out that a lot more needs to be done to ensure that the country’s disabled people and those with mobility problems are catered for by the UK’s housing stock and aren’t forced to live in unsuitable properties where they have to make do.

Age UK noted that there are 13.9 million disabled people in the UK and a further 6.5 million people with mobility problems.

With the government focusing on increasing the amount of housing available in the UK and planning to build one million new homes by the end of 2020, the charity believes this is the ideal opportunity to tackle many of the issues with accessibility and future-proof part of the country’s housing stock.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, commented: “A well designed home can work across a whole lifetime or for any generation, so it just makes common sense to make sure that all new homes are accessible, flexible and adaptable.”

If you’re looking for ways to make your property more accessible, a good place to start is with the bathroom. Fitting easy access showers can make a real difference and make the bathroom safer too.

Other steps you can take to make your bathroom safer as you get older include fitting a seat to raise the height of the toilet seat and installing grab bars in the shower. Looking at simple things like removing any obstacles or trip hazards at ground level, like a bath mat, is also advisable.

Aug 12

Tourist Hotspots Need To Improve Toilet Accessibility, Says Study

Matthew

For people with disabilities, venturing far from your own home and accessible bathroom with its bidet toilet seat can be a nerve-wracking affair, especially if it’s unfamiliar territory, for one question alone: will the bathrooms where I’m going be able to facilitate me?

It’s a burden and a concern that these people should not have to bear, and despite renewed pledges to improved accessible spaces in public places, it seems that it is still a big problem. A study, conducted by the organisation Leonard Cheshire and online community at Disability Horizons, has found that the majority of respondents had visited a popular tourist attraction in the UK to find that there was no toilet they could accommodate their needs.

From the 280 respondents to the survey, 73 per cent had faced this issue, and worryingly 71 per cent of those had been told that there would be accessible toilet available, when enquiring before visiting, according to THIIS.

This can be a big problem when it comes to encouraging people with disabilities to have confidence that their needs will be met when they go out, especially important when it comes encouraging people to participate in society to their fullest potential. 68 per cent of respondents said that the lack of accessible toilets deterred them from visiting tourist spots, echoing that the lack of appropriate facilities made them feel unwanted.

Neil Heslop, Chief Executive at Leonard Cheshire, said that far too many people are experiencing unacceptable conditions, and that not only was it unfair to exclude disabled people from attending these attractions, it’s even bad business: “Even aside from the impact this has on disabled people being able to live independent lives, there are major implications for the tourism industry, which could inadvertently be turning away huge numbers of potential customers,” he explained.

Some of the issues stem from less advanced accessible toilet designs that those not in the know don’t understand is not of an acceptable level for many people with disabilities. The Changing Places Initiative, for example, is a government backed scheme that ensures that toilet spaces are available for people with more severe disabilities and acute care needs so that they have all the facilities they need to hand.

Without these facilities available, the respondents told of the effect it can have on your enjoyment of a day out: “You feel out of sorts like a rug has been pulled out from under you. It also leaves you feeling like they don’t want me there, and it makes me feel very off and guarded for the rest of the day,” said one person. Respondents also told of themselves having to make do in poor conditions, or just having to avoid eating and drinking while out, in order as to avoid going to toilets that aren’t up to specification.

Another concern raised in the survey was the availability of access to toilets assigned for disabled people. It was flagged up that the system of R.A.D.A.R. keys is open to exploitation for those not in need of their use, who are able to buy them off the internet in order to use these facilities.

Aug 07

Arthritis Sufferers ‘More Likely To Die Of Heart Disease’

Matthew

A new study has revealed that people who suffer from arthritis are more likely to die of heart disease than those who don’t.

The Daily Mail shared the findings of the research from Lund University in Sweden, which looked at 469,000 people living in Skane, Sweden, who were aged between 45 and 84 when the study started in 2003.

Those who were included in the research suffered from different kinds of arthritis, including knee arthritis (16,000 patients), hip arthritis (9,000 patients) and wrist arthritis (4,000 patients), as well as people who didn’t develop the condition.

Lead author professor Martin Englund told the news provider that the study found that “the groups were not different in terms of most causes of death, but we saw the risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease was higher for those with an osteoarthritis diagnosis.”

The study didn’t look at the causes, although professor Englund and his colleagues have speculated that because osteoarthritis causes pain, this leads to people having more sedentary lifestyles. That, in turn, can lead to weight gain, which is known to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Living with arthritis can be a challenge because it affects your mobility. It’s important to make adaptations to your home to make it easier for you to continue to do as much as possible for yourself.

Installing easy access baths is one alteration you may want to consider in your property if you or a loved one suffers from any form of arthritis.

Earlier this year, charity Versus Arthritis revealed that nearly half (43 per cent) of people with persistent pain as a result of their arthritis struggle to carry out basic tasks in their homes for more than two years before they discover they’re eligible for help from their local authority.

walk in bath with glass door
Jul 19

Advice To Make Bathrooms Safer As You Age

Matthew

Much though you may not like to admit it, you need to be more careful as you get older and consider how you can make your home as safe as possible for you and the rest of your family.

The bathroom is one area that you should look closely at. An article from Southern Trust Home Services, a US-based HVAC, plumbing and electrical company, recently pointed out just how important bathroom safety is as you age.

It cited figures from the US, which revealed that 80 per cent of the falls that occur among those aged over 65 each year happen in the bathroom.

Ted Puzio, owner of the firm, explained that there are a number of things you can do to make your bathroom more accessible and safer. One of his top suggestions is to install walk-in shower baths because you’re removing “any hurdles your loved one might have to step over in order to bathe”.

Fitting grab bars in the shower is also a good idea to ensure that, should someone slip, they have something sturdy to grab onto and potentially prevent them falling.

Another thing to consider is installing a toilet seat that raises the height of the loo. This will make it easier for people with reduced mobility to get on and off the toilet. Choose one with arm rests on either side to give them some extra leverage when they stand.

If you’re worried about how these additions will make your bathroom look, don’t be. We recently pointed out that there are many ways to make accessible bathrooms look stylish, including installing features like grab rails vertically or fitting a grab rail in place of a shower slider, so that it serves a dual purpose.

Jul 12

New Scheme To Support Disabled Overlooks Children

Matthew

The government recently announced it will do more to support disabled people and break down the barriers they face.

However, The Sun newspaper has been left disappointed with the proposals, as it claims it has overlooked the needs of children with disabilities.

This comes after the tabloid launched a campaign to reinstate the £434 million that has been slashed from disabled kids’ services across the country.

Last week, Prime Minister Theresa May revealed plans to overhaul statutory sick pay, offer greater workplace support, and introduce higher accessibility standards for new housing for disabled people.

Ms May stated: “My determination to identify and tackle injustices, wherever they exist in society, remains as strong as ever.”

She added the new measures will “break down barriers faced by disabled people, whether in employment, housing or elsewhere”.

However, The Sun has argued the government failed to address the lack of support for disabled children.

This is in spite of work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd declaring: “We intend to support disabled people in all phases of their life.”

Earlier last month, the newspaper launched its Give It Back initiative to get the government to return the funding from disabled services for families, which includes money for equipment and respite care.

The campaign has had the support of thousands of readers, as well as 60 leading charities that work with disabled children and their families.

This project is especially important as the number of disabled youngsters in Britain has risen by a third over the last ten years, and there are almost one million children currently living with a disability in the UK.

One way to improve their lives is by installing shower seating, as this makes washing youngsters much easier than having to support their weight.

Jun 13

Unnecessary PIP Reassessments For Pensioners To Be Phased Out

Matthew

Pensioners who receive personal independence payments (PIP) will no longer have to have their awards reviewed regularly, with light touch reviews implemented at ten years instead. And new claimants whose reviews would have been due after reaching state pension age will receive ongoing awards with light touch reviews at ten years.

Amber Rudd, work and pensions secretary, said a series of initiatives have been set out to improve the quality of life of those with disabilities and stopping “unnecessary” PIP reviews for pensioners is a “positive change”.

“It applies a common sense approach to treating those whose conditions are unlikely to change and we want to introduce it as quickly as possible for those who will benefit from it,” she went on to say.

The change is part of a bigger package of measures that signal a shift in government support for disabled people, with other reforms including combining the employment support allowance and universal credit into a single integrated service from 2021.

It’s expected that this will simplify the assessment process for millions claiming health-related benefits, reducing the number of face-to-face assessments for some and the need to submit information numerous times.

You can find out more about PIP on the official government website. It is designed to help you with some of the additional costs you might face if you have a long-term ill health condition or a disability. If you’re over the age of 16 and have not yet reached state pension age, you could receive between £23.20 and £148.85 a week.

Do you need to find out more about disabled baths? Get in touch with us today.

Jun 06

Accessible Bathrooms ‘Can Still Look Stylish’

Matthew

If you’re planning to revamp your bathroom to make it more accessible because you’re struggling with your mobility, you don’t have to throw style out of the window when you’re making changes.

That’s the message from an article in HomeCare, which explained that updating your bathroom and making it more accessible doesn’t mean you can’t have a space that looks good too.

Whether you’re installing easy access showers or grab rails, there’s a way to incorporate this into your wider bathroom design and make it look seamless, the news provider noted.

One top tip from the news provider is to install grab bars vertically, which makes them more of a design feature. You can even replace a shower slider with a grab bar, which serves two purposes. It will hold the showerhead, and should someone slip while in the shower they can grab it and have confidence that it will support their weight, unlike a shower slider.

If you want to make your bathroom wheelchair accessible, choose a sink that is mounted on the wall with space beneath it. This means you can easily maneuver a wheelchair into position and it will look really sleek too. Grab rails installed on either side of the sink can double as towel rails too.

Whatever you’re planning to do to change your bathroom, it’s sensible to think about how you can make functional improvements. Earlier this year, Realtor.com suggested that homeowners should look at ways of improving the function of their bathroom first, and worry about design features second.

Jun 05

Why Pubs Should Introduce Better Disabled Access

Matthew

Many pubs in the UK are in old buildings and therefore aren’t always the most accessible places for those who struggle with their mobility. For wheelchair users it can be incredibly challenging to find pubs they can get into and that have appropriate toilets.

Speaking to the Morning Advertiser, Fiona Jarvis, founder of Blue Badge Style, a website that reviews venues based on their accessibility, style and facilities, said that pubs that make more of an effort to appeal to disabled people will benefit from increased custom.

“The household spend for people with disabilities is worth £249 billion a year. Why would you ignore that market? It’s not just the household, it’s their friends that go out with them,” she asserted.

Ms Jarvis also pointed out that it’s not too expensive to make modifications that can really help disabled people. Among her recommendations are ordering a portable ramp if your venue has a step at the entrance. She estimates that this should cost under £500.

She also stressed that it’s important to make sure all of the staff in your pub are aware of equipment like portable ramps, so that they can easily find them if they need to.

Other pieces of advice include making sure that the disabled toilets aren’t used as an extra storage facility and that there’s always a clear route to reach them.

A number of train stations in the UK are set to see an improvement in disabled access to facilities. Last month the government announced it would spend £300 million to upgrade access at 73 of the country’s railway stations.

If you’re looking at ways that you can improve the bathroom in your own home, make sure you think about every part of the space when you’re making changes. As well as installing easy-access showers, you might also want to consider a seat in the shower and even bidet toilet seats.

May 20

Functional Improvements Best For Bathrooms

Matthew

If you’re planning to make some changes to your bathroom this year then it’s best to focus on making functional improvements rather than just giving it a cosmetic touch up.

This is according to Realtor.com, which explained that bathrooms often aren’t the relaxing spaces we’d like them to be because they’re too full of clutter and aren’t designed to make the best use of the space.

With that in mind, you should focus on making changes that improve the function of your bathroom first and foremost. For example, making sure you have adequate storage and that the towel rail is within easy reach of your bath or shower.

You should also think about how to make your bathroom a safer environment, and one that you can still use if you have mobility issues as you age. If you’re making changes, installing easy access showers can help you future-proof this space.

The news provider also recommended thinking carefully about your bathroom lighting. Jean Brownhill, CEO of Sweeten, a US-based renovation matchmaker for contractors and homeowners, commented: “Be sure there’s lighting for all of your daily routines so that you can experience a seamless morning.”

Having task lighting so that you can do your makeup or shave is important, but you should also make sure you have the ability to dim the lights if you want to have a long soak in the tub.

Also, look at ways of making sure your bathroom is always nice and warm. That might mean installing underfloor heating or at least having a heated towel rail for the winter months.

Given that research by NAEA Propertymark, last month found that a bathroom refresh was one of the most popular home improvement projects in the UK, many people should be thinking about introducing some of these ideas in their homes.