Oct 23

Survey Launched To Discover Truth Behind Disability Access

Matthew

A survey has been launched to determine what disabled people think about access in public places and whether it has improved in the last year.

Euan’s Guide’s UK Access Survey has been established to support Disabled Access Day, which raises awareness of the need to improve disabled access in public areas.

“We’re asking what’s good and not so good about access at the places you visit. By taking part in this survey, you’ll be joining hundreds of other disabled people in having their say about access provision in the UK and beyond,” a spokesperson for Euan’s Guide stated.

Disabled people, as well as their friends and family, and those who work closely with them, can take part in the questionnaire, and four respondents will be randomly chosen to win a £25 Amazon voucher.

The public has been asked their opinions as part of the survey for the last five years, and more than 900 responded to last year’s questions.

In 2018, the survey revealed 94 per cent of respondents look for disabled access information about a venue before visiting; 88 per cent are more likely to go somewhere new if they can find information about disabled access beforehand; and 86 per cent of people had found disabled access information on a venue’s website misleading in the past.

It also revealed just one per cent of respondents are very confident about visiting new places, while six per cent are not confident at all.

To make your home as accessible as possible, consider fitting inflatable bath lifts in your bathroom to help you get in and out of the tub without extra assistance.

bath with easy access door
Oct 22

Trafford Disability Funding £200k More Than 2009

Matthew

Some places are taking the pleas to provide better support for disabled people seriously, with Trafford Council having increased its funding for those with disabilities by more than £200,000 over the last ten years.

The local authority revealed it has spent £214,965 more on Disability Facilities Grants (DFGs) this financial year than it did in 2009, reported Manchester Evening News.

This money goes towards helping disabled people make adaptations to their homes, such as by installing walk-in power baths, dropped kerbs, wider doorframes, and stair lifts to enable them to have a more independent life.

A spokesperson for the council told the newspaper: “Trafford Council is committed toe equality in all areas and we are proud to have increased our Disabled Facilities grant funding.”

Freedom of Information requests by marketing agency Silverbean revealed the local authority that spent the most on these types of grants since 2009 was Leeds City Council.

This was followed by Manchester City Council, which contributed £4,654,900 over the last ten years.

The north-west spent more on DFGs than any other region during this period, with this amount totalling £25,952,343. This averaged £1,853,738 per year.

Disability rights campaigner Hollie-Anne Brooks told the news provider: “Small changes matter a great deal and something that may seem minor can have such an enriching impact on the life of a disabled person – both from an accessibility point of view but also in terms of their mental health.”

Indeed, a YouGov poll, commissioned by Habinteg, revealed 69 per cent of the public thought wheelchairs would not fit in their current homes, with just 21 per cent saying a wheelchair user would be able to access every room in their house.

Oct 07

New App Launched To Review Bathrooms

Matthew

There are few people who haven’t been out and about somewhere, used a public bathroom and thought that it was a mess. Or maybe it simply wasn’t accessible to you in the first place. While there are undoubtedly businesses doing a great job with their toilets, there are still plenty that are lagging behind.

But a new app from HSG UK is hoping to change that. This reported on the free-to-download app, which is called Cleen.

Any user who downloads the app will be able to leave a review about the toilet facilities in a business. They can post complaints, or they can share compliments. They can also add photographs to support their review.

The aim isn’t to lambast business owners for the state of their toilets, but to bring about positive change.

Simon Rice, HSG UK managing director, commented: “Many washrooms are still not fit for purpose – and therefore badly affect the quality of life – for a large part of our community and particularly for people with disabilities and parents needing baby changing facilities.”

Mr Rice explained that the app is designed to help businesses use high-quality, accessible bathrooms to help market their businesses.

At the same time, he also wants them to use it as a tool to understand when their facilities aren’t up to standard and to take steps to improve matters, whether it’s introducing additional toilet checks throughout the day to ensure they stay clean and stocked with toilet paper, or fitting new bathrooms that are accessible.

He added that, for disabled people, the accessibility and standards of washrooms are an important thing for them to consider when they’re deciding whether to eat at a particular restaurant or visit an attraction.

“Cleen App is therefore a simple and engaging way of giving disabled people a voice to share their experiences – good and bad – to help other people make those decisions,” Mr Rice asserted.

Last month, research conducted by the organisation Leonard Cheshire and online community Disability Horizons stressed that tourist attractions in the UK need to do more to provide accessible facilities.

The survey found that 73 per cent of the disabled people surveyed had visited a tourist attraction and discovered that there was no washroom that could meet their needs.

One of the problems is that many people who don’t have direct experience of needing disabled facilities simply aren’t aware of what constitutes an acceptable and usable bathroom. However, they should seek advice from those with the right knowledge to ensure that they are providing a washroom that can be used by everyone.

Neil Heslop, chief executive at Leonard Cheshire, said that aside from the impact it has on those with disabilities, who are being prevented from living independent lives, there are business implications too. Tourist attractions that fail to adequately cater for people with disabilities could be inadvertently turning away a significant number of customers.

This discussion could open your eyes to what a family member might need at home too. If you know someone who struggles with their mobility, take a look at the likes of easy access showers to ensure they’re able to continue to use their bathroom independently for many years to come.

Oct 02

‘Majority’ Of Homes Are Inaccessible For Wheelchair Users

Matthew

A new report has revealed that the majority of homes in the UK are hard for wheelchair users to access, with just 21 per cent saying that a wheelchair user would reasonably be able to access all parts of the house.

Commissioned by Habinteg, the YouGov poll found that 69 per cent of those asked confirmed that this would not be possible in their current homes. The typical reasons for inaccessibility were found to be steps into the front door, bathrooms upstairs and the width of doors going into and around the house.

“We are calling on the government to urgently change national policy to ensure all new homes are built to accessible and adaptable standards. This was promised by former Prime Minister Theresa May in July as part of a new consultation, and we now need the new PM to honour that pledge,” Habinteg CEO Sheron Carter said.

The study came after it was found that 23 per cent of new properties outside London are planned to be accessible, despite the fact that the UK has rapidly ageing population.

And further research by the University of Stirling, the Horizon Housing Association and Housing Options Scotland also recently revealed that disabled people are finding it hard to access suitable homes to buy, so much so in fact that they’re experiencing mental and emotional distress as a result.

Professor Isobel Anderson, lead author of the study, issued a call for equal housing opportunities and rights to accessible properties that “ensure and protect their human rights”.

If you’re looking to make your home more accessible, contact us today to find out more about our easy access showers & other products!

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.