The Government in the UK is committed to comprehensive civil rights for disabled people so have introduced an integrated transport policy, which encompasses accessible public transport, infrastructure and a barrier-free pedestrian environment. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 gives disabled people a right of access to goods, facilities, services and premises. Since 1996, it has been unlawful for service providers to treat disabled people less favourably than other people for a reason related to their disability. There are various ways to define disability under the act, but in practical terms disability concerns areas of Locomotion, Seeing, Hearing, Reaching, stretching and dexterity; and Learning disability. These categories are not mutually exclusive as many disabled people have more than one impairment. In addition local authorities have obligations to those with disabilities and can provide assessments of their homes to determine which products or alterations may be required.
There are a wide range of mobility aids and products which can be useful around the home. For example grab rails, gripping aids, non-slip mats, plug pulls, reachers or grabbers, scissors, trolleys, window pulls, door openers plus of course stairlifts. Choosing a stairlift can be confusing as there are many factors to take into consideration, all of which are important. If you are experiencing difficulty using your stairs and are considering mobility aids, start by contacting your local authority's social services department to find out about disability equipment and adaptations as you will be eligible for a free assessment of your needs, and advice on what products or alterations could best help you.
Before deciding on the most suitable form of stairlift consider that the condition could deteriorate, although they may be able to use a seated stairlift now, it may be appropriate to consider the option of travelling in a wheelchair in the future. It's always advisable that the stairlift covers the whole staircase, in addition the user has to be able to bend their knees sufficiently to travel in a seated position. Consider who will operate the stairlift and whether emote controls are necessary. The power source is important too, but all mobility aids and wheelchair lifts nowadays are available with a battery backup option in case of power cuts.
A disabled facilities grant is available from your local authority for work that is essential to help you live an independent life. You can get a disabled facilities grant to make it easier to get in and out of your home, for moving around your home, making it easier or safer to get access to your garden, for suitable bathroom or kitchen facilities, providing or improving a heating system and ensuring your safety. Owner-occupiers, landlords and tenants can apply for a disabled facilities grant by filling in a form from the local authority. Your local authority may have a list of local architects, surveyors and builders who specialise in renovation work which is necessary and appropriate to meet your needs.
Building and construction work is usually VAT standard-rated but some alterations to a disabled person's home may qualify for zero-rating, such as alterations to a disabled person's home, or the supply or installation of goods for the personal or domestic use of a disabled person. Alterations to a disabled person's home such as building a ramp, widening a doorway or passageway, raising a floor level to match an existing floor so that steps can be removed, reducing the angle of a slope or widening an existing path across a disabled person's garden can all be zero rated, as can installing, extending or adapting a disabled person's bathroom, washroom or lavatory.
Check before you get any work done to see if you qualify for any kind of grant or financial assistance, professional companies which specialise in this sector should also be able to provide advice on grants that may be available. For more advice and written quotations, please click the "post your job" button to have local companies get in touch to provide more information on prices for installation and products.