5 Accessibility Fixtures Which Still Look Great

5 Accessibility Fixtures Which Still Look Great
Photo by CDC on Unsplash

If you have mobility issues and need to adjust your home to make your life easier, it’s a common worry that these accessibility fixtures and fittings will detract from the overall look of your property. There are however some accessibility improvements that you can make to your home which will aid your day-to-day movement and still make your property look high-end and well designed. Here are five examples of things that you can add to your property while still making it all look great.

Platform Lifts

There is a tendency for aftermarket lifts in houses to look clunky and incongruous, and most people don’t like to have a constant reminder of the fact that they need help with their mobility.

There are however lots of platform lifts which can be installed in houses which look as though they were designed to be there in the first place, and look sleek and high end.


When we think of handrails which are placed in properties to aid movement, we often think of the clunky white handrails that you would see around a hospital or care home. This doesn’t need to be the case as there are many handrail options out there which are made from materials which blend much better with the design aesthetic of your home. Take a look around the internet to help you find something which looks less mobility related and more like a design feature.


If you use a wheelchair to get around, having ramps installed in your home will make your life a hell of a lot easier. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to have obvious and unattractive structures attached to the outside or the inside of your home to improve your accessibility. If you find the right carpenter or craftsman they can often add ramps to your property which don’t even look like ramps and will act more like undulations in your flooring.


As with the other items in this list, accessible bathrooms no longer need to look like something you find in a care home. There are many different options out there for wet rooms, walk-in baths and showers and low-level sinks which will look just as good as a bathroom for the able-bodied. A skilled bathroom fitter will be able to add these features to your bathroom without making them look out of place.


Making a kitchen accessible for a person with mobility issues doesn’t need to be expensive or difficult. Often it’s just a case of taking eye level units and worktops and making them lower so that you can get into them without needing to be standing up. A good kitchen designer will have the skill to create a kitchen which looks beautiful but is completely functional.


5 Ways to Make Your House Disability-Friendly

5 Ways to Make Your House Disability-Friendly
Photo by Zachary Kyra-Derksen on Unsplash

When you have a family member with disabilities, it can be tricky for them to get around your house if it’s not geared up to be accessible for them. My younger sister has a disability and although she’s not in a wheelchair she has good and bad days and may need a chair eventually. With this in mind, we’ve been thinking of ways that we could make the house more disability-friendly and came up with the following:


One of the bost obvious ways to make a house more disability friendly is to install ramps to the main entrances and exits. Materials like riser grating are easy to install and give a handy non-slip surface which will be good for wheelchair access. Mini mesh grating is an extremely resilient & durable material achieving a life span of at least 50 years and is extremely chemical resistant, so you know you won’t need to replace it for some time.

Remove Carpets

Carpets are reknowned for being a hindrance to people with disabilities. Aside from making it harder to mave wheelchairs around on a carpeted floor, carpets and rugs can be a massive trip hazard to people on crutches. Hardwood floors are a much better flooring surface, are easier to clean and make it easier for everyone to move around on.

Widen Doorways

There is no point in making your home wheelchair accessible by doing all of the above if the wheelchair user can’t get into each room. Ensure each doorway is widened to allow the wheelchair user to comfortably manoeuvre through. Standard doors can restrict the manoeuvrability in and out of a room, so it may be that a sliding door is a better option. Sliding bathroom doors can maximize the size of a bathroom and also to allow easier access in/out of the bathroom without any restrictions.


Handrails can be a HUGE help for people with physical issues. Sure, my sister is unlikely to need to use our bath or shower, but a handrail near the main toilet would be a huge help. A standard 1-1/2-inch diameter bar works for most people’s grip. Grip rails not only offer stability but they also add to the level of independence that people with disabilities are able to have.

Smart Features

Smart home installations are a newer solution on the market, but they can have a big impact on improving the accessibility of a home. Blinds, lighting and tv controls that can either be managed from an app or panel can provide more autonomy for users and may require fewer changes to your household overall in the long term.

Happiness · Health

5 Tips for Getting a Stairlift on a Budget

It can be a huge worry if you have an elderly parent or relative who is starting to have mobility difficulties and is struggling with their stairs. Getting a stairlift installed could enable them to use their stairs safely again, without the risk of injuring themselves in a fall. However, although buying a stairlift can work out significantly cheaper than moving house or having building work done to adapt the ground floor, the price can still be daunting for people on a low income. Here are some ideas on how to make getting a stairlift more affordable.

1. Consider a Reconditioned Stairlift

Purchasing a reconditioned stairlift can be a much cheaper option than buying a brand new one. Reconditioned stairlifts are second-hand models that have been pre-owned by someone else and then refurbished to ensure they are in full working order. Many stairlift companies sell reconditioned straight and curved stairlifts at a significant discount. With this option you can save money but still get the benefits of a guarantee and professional installation on a new track. A word of caution though – be wary of buying a used stairlift from a private seller, as you will have no guarantee it is safe to use.

2. Look at VAT Relief

Older people aged over 60 can get a stairlift at a reduced rate of 5% VAT (compared to the standard rate of 20%). This can help lower the price. If the person who needs the stairlift meets HMRC’s criteria of being “chronically sick or disabled” and is buying it for their own personal use they may be eligible to pay no VAT at all (0%). To benefit from this saving, it is important to ask the stairlift supplier for a “User VAT Declaration” form before making your payment, to make sure they apply the zero rating.

3. See if You Can Get a Disabled Facilities Grant

Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) are means-tested grants for home adaptations that are provided by local councils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The amount of money that the stairlift user might get as a grant towards the cost of a stairlift will depend on their household income and savings. Not everyone will qualify for a DFG and you will need to contact your relative’s council to apply. If they live in a rental property, they can request that their landlord applies on their behalf. Bear in mind there are certain conditions to being awarded a DFG and it can take several months to find out if your application has been approved or not.

4. Investigate Financial Assistance from Charities

Another source of financial aid that you may be available to your relative is a grant from a charitable organisation. Turn2us is a nationwide charity that can check which welfare benefits your relative is entitled to and help find any grants they are eligible for to finance a stairlift. There is a useful Grants Search tool on their website. Other charities that can help those in financial need include Independence at Home and the ACT Foundation, so you may also want to contact them for advice.

5. Consider Renting a Stairlift

In some situations, it can be more economical to rent a stairlift rather than buy one. Several companies offer rental stairlifts for which the user is charged a monthly fee. It really depends on your circumstances as to whether hiring a stairlift is a cost-effective option. Generally, renting a stairlift only works out cheaper if the user will only require a stairlift for a short time, such as during recovery from an operation or illness.

A stairlift can make a big difference to a user’s independence by enabling them to move freely between the floors of their home and keeping them safe on the stairs. As you can see, there are various ways to reduce the cost of installing a stairlift for people on a tight budget. If you’re concerned about an elderly relative struggling with the stairs, it is worth exploring all the options to see if a stairlift is an affordable solution.


Making Life Easier with Mobility Issues

According to figures from disability charity Scope, there are 13.9 million disabled people in the UK who are living with some form of disability. This obviously covers a range of people, from those with mobility issues, right the way up to those who are profoundly disabled; the most commonly reported impairments by disabled people are:

  • Mobility (52%)
  • Stamina, breathing, fatigue (38%)
  • Dexterity (27%).

I have several friends who suffer with a range of mobility-effecting illnesses, so I thought I’d turn to them to give you some tips on how to make your day-to-day life easier if you struggle with mobility issues. My friend Jeni, who suffers with hypermobility and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, offered a HUGE amount of tips:

Pace Yourself

Break tasks into smaller chunks, small enough that you stop before you get tired.

Perching stool in the kitchen

Essential for cooking meals and washing up.

Tassimo/hot water machine

Standing waiting for a kettle to boil is sooooo tiring by when you’re suffering with fatigued muscles from overdoing it. This makes life easier!

Cooking potatoes/pasta in a chip basket inside a saucepan

saves you lifting and moving with a hot pan of water as it drains as you lift the basket and you can leave the water to cool.

Having “green” activities spread through the day

Red activities are heavy duty, amber is tolerable, and green are restful-ish. e.g. Red would be hoovering, Amber would be cooking and green would be watching a film with the kids or knitting. By having green activities every so often in the day, you give yourself a break!

Also, take your time when deciding on a car; consider height, weight of steering, accessibility, as well as fuel consumption. Can you get a wheelchair in the boot?

Borrow a wheelchair

You can hire them from the red cross so you can get out and about if you need to. Mary from Keynko had one for 10 weeks for a donation of £30.

Listen to your body

It’s about learning what you can do accepting that. Rachel from Rachel in Real Life said “So it was my sister’s wedding day on Sunday. I usually work Mondays but obviously it was a bank holiday and I also suspected I wouldn’t be able to work today so I’m making up the hours on Thursday. I slept most of yesterday and today. I’m still in pain and tired now. Remember to take pain relief at the right times, don’t wait to feel the pain. I’d recommend pain management program. It was really quite helpful and enabled me to meet others who struggle with chronic pain and mobility issues.”

My friend Kerry says: “I have a walking stick for general daily use (I try not to use it sometimes so I don’t become completely dependant), I have a four wheeled walker for bad days so I can sit in-between walking to the school, and for very bad days I now have a mobility scooter that I bought myself as there are days my legs are agony and I cannot get round to the school. Hot baths with epsom salts for muscle relaxation. Magnesium spray for muscle cramps. I also take a multivitamin and several additional vitamins on top to try ensure I stay as healthy as possible.”

Baby · Family

BabyMel Changing Bag Giveaway (in association with Sudocrem and the Baby Changing Room Awards )

It’s crazy to think that in 2017, there are still public places with totally substandard changing facilities, but it’s a fact. Although both of my girls are well beyond the nappy phase, I still notice these things when we’re out and about and I’ve given more than one sympathetic eyeroll to a struggling Dad who doesn’t know whether to balance his kid on his lap to attempt a bum-change, or brave the ladies toilet where the ONLY changing facilities have been inconveniently placed. One place I never fail to be impressed by is our local IKEA. Not only to many of them have HUGE family toilets which have ample space for buggies and wheelchairs, their family loos also have an adult size toilet and a kid sized on in the same room so that everyone is catered for in one special space.

Sudocrem Baby Changing Room AwardsFive years ago, Sudocrem launched the Baby Changing Room Awards to celebrate exactly that – spaces which have been designed with ease and inclusiveness in mind, and this year’s nominations are now open. The awards aim to recognise the fact that “changing” is about SO much more than babies, and that there are children with complex needs who’s parents need adequate facilities to make their lives easier.

Parents like Laura Rutherford, whose son Brody, 5, suffers from GDD, epilepsy, hypermobility and hypotonia, is forced to change her son on a toilet floor. “Life beyond a baby changing table when your child is doubly incontinent means constant exclusions when you go out as a family. It’s heart breaking for us as parents and this is an issue that will sadly become harder and harder as he grows up. He is different not less. Time for change.”

Jenny Miller CEO of PAMIS explains, “We are thrilled that Sudocrem have recognized the needs of children with complex needs as they grow too large for baby changing facilities. Children and young people who require these facilities are often prevented from taking part in their communities by the simple things that we take for granted. In 2007 we cofounded the  Changing Places Consortium and campaign to develop accessible facilities for the most disabled people in the UK. The Sudocrem award scheme is a great idea and we’re confident it’s going to make a big difference!

If you would like to nominate a changing room for the award, then let us know which changing room, why you want to nominate it and preferably include a photo on Facebook via the Sudocrem website www.sudocrem.co.uk/social-hub or by emailing   competitions@satellitepr.com.

To promote the awards, Sudocrem is giving one lucky Mum’s the Word reader the chance to win a beautiful Babymel Frankie Tweed Nappy Change Bag worth £58.00.

Win a BabyMel changing bag with Mum's the Word and SudocremTo be in with a chance of winning, just complete the Rafflecopter widget below:

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Good luck and don’t forget to nominate your favourtie changing space in the Baby Changing Room Awards!