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.

May 10

Brits Spend £3k A Year To Upgrade Homes

Matthew

Homeowners in the UK are spending more and more money to keep their house up-to-date and functional, with recent figures showing the country spends as much as £83 million on DIY jobs a year.

The research from digital bank Zopa found that each adult affords £3,048 on home improvement jobs each 12 months to make their house comfortable, safe and presented well, according to MoneyAge.

The FeelGood Money Company also revealed that Brits are so concerned about how their homes look that they spend 108 hours every year improving it.

Many people feel inclined to renovate their houses often to keep up with appearances, as 77 per cent of Brits feel ashamed about how their property looks when unexpected guests turn up.

However, for a lot of people, making these home renovations is a necessity, as it could enable them to enjoy more independence and stay in their residence for longer.

Indeed, those with disabilities or who are beginning to suffer from restricted mobility as they get older will benefit from fitting half-height shower doors or a small walk-in bath in their bathroom suite. These changes could mean the difference between being able to live in their home for as long as possible, or having to move out and find a property with better access according to their needs.

Joan Simmons, professor of occupational therapy at Spring College in the US, advised making simple alterations to the bathroom for those becoming less mobile. These include installing bars around the bath to help getting in and out of it safely, and fitting strong lighting to always be able to see any potential hazards, Mass Appeal reported.

Apr 30

Netflix Launches New Disability Show ‘Special’

Matthew

Netflix has been highlighting the challenges disabled people face in their daily lives with the launch of its new show entitled ‘Special’.

This comedy is based on Ryan O’Connell’s memoir I’m Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves, which recounts the comedian’s experience with cerebral palsy.

He has now taken the book to the screens and stars in the eight-episode series as himself, giving the general public an insight into what it is like to live with his condition.

O’Connell spoke to NBC News lately on behalf of everyone with a disability, saying: “For so long, we’ve been ignored. I really hope that stops.”

Cerebral palsy affects a person’s movement, whether they have jerky or clumsy reactions, walk on tip-toes, have weak limbs, or are too stiff or floppy. This condition varies significantly and is caused around the time of childbirth, though it is often not detected until two or three years after they are born.

Though there are some treatments for cerebral palsy, including occupational therapy, medication for stiffness, and physiotherapy, there is no cure for it. Therefore, those with the condition have to learn to lead independent lives while living with their disability.

For O’Connell that included writing his 2015 memoir and making it into a TV series, telling the world about his physical challenges, his relationships, his work experience, and the obstacles he has to face.

While able-bodied people may take for granted being able to complete everyday tasks, something as simple as washing yourself can feel like a huge hurdle for someone with reduced movement. Having a walk-in bath fitted into your home, therefore, could be life-changing for a cerebral palsy sufferer who struggles with their motor functions.

Apr 18

Disability Access To Improve In 73 Train Stations

Matthew

Disabled people know how difficult it can be to make even the simplest journey due to a lack of accessible routes across Britain’s rail network. That is why the government has pledged £300 million to transform 73 train stations to help disabled rail passengers across the UK.

The Access For All Funding will help to create a fully inclusive transport network within the next five years.

Large-scale improvements will be made with this finance, including building footbridges and installing lifts.

Transport accessibility minister Nusrat Ghani said: “We want the 13.9 million disabled people in Britain to be empowered to travel independently, which is why I am delighted to announce this roll out of upgrades across the rail network.”

The 73 stations that will see these improvements were chosen due to their proportion of disabled passengers, proximity to hospital, to represent geographical spread across the UK, and their value for money.

Another 1,500 stations will see smaller upgrades for disabled passengers, including platform humps, improvements for those who are visually or hearing impaired, and accessible toilets.

Earlier this year, US vlogger Shane Burcaw, who has a muscle-wasting disease, posted a video on social media about his embarrassing experience using toilet facilities at St Pancras International station.

Needing to use a travel urinal, he struggled to find a pull-down table to be able to position the device upon, resulting in him having to put it on the dirty floor instead.

His story was picked up by major news providers across the UK, highlighting the lack of facilities for disabled people in some of the country’s biggest rail hubs.

While those with disabilities can often find public facilities challenging, it is important to feel comfortable in your own home. Having easy access showers or walk-in baths can give people much-needed independence.

Apr 09

Bathroom Refresh ‘Popular Home Improvement Project’

Matthew

Replacing an out of date bathroom was one of the top home improvement projects named in research from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) Propertymark as we come into National Home Improvement Month.

While redecorating was the most popular project, undertaken by 72 per cent of homeowners, a bathroom refresh was another popular option, with 34 per cent of homeowners spending money on this in the last five years.

In fact, the NAEA Propertymark research revealed that the average property owner has spent £8,000 on DIY projects in the past five years.

If you are thinking of replacing your bathroom this year, you may want to consider how you can future-proof it, especially if you aren’t planning to move again when you get older.

While the organisation recommends things like replacing taps, re-tiling and painting the bathroom in a neutral colour, you could also look into fitting easy access showers. These fittings still look stylish, but will make it easy for you to continue using your bathroom even if your mobility worsens.

Chief executive of NAEA Propertymark Mark Hayward commented: “Homeowners are renovating and improving their properties for various reasons. Our needs are constantly changing and by investing money into our homes, we can really make the most of what we’ve got.”

There have also been calls recently for house builders to make sure the properties they construct are accessible and suitable for people of all ages. A survey for the Centre for Ageing Better found that 72 per cent of people believe all new homes should be designed and built to be suitable for people of all ages and abilities.