Steve can now access upstairs safely using a DFG funded homelift
Steve's search for freedom between floors…
Steve Waller from Rotherham has visual impairment and experienced a stroke a few years ago. He has been able to remain living at home independently thanks to a homelift partly funded by a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG). He spent time researching the different options for travelling between floors, including installing a stair lift and the option of moving house as well as researching funding for this home adaptation.
Before trying to find ways of moving safely between floors, Steve looked at buying a different house. A single storey home would solve his problems however he discovered bungalows were ‘massively expensive’ and there was nothing suitable close by anyway.
Install a stairlift?
When he decided moving was not an option and was still unaware of homelifts, he began researching stairlifts online. He also enquired about equipment funding with the local council who assigned him an Occupational Therapist (OT) to assess his needs.
Advice from Occupational Therapist
Steve had received limited adaptations at home during his rehabilitation, such as dual handrails on the stairs, however these were proving ineffective as his mobility and vision became more challenging. He thought that a stairlift could possibly offer a safe solution for moving between floors, however his narrow staircase had two turns, so space was a major issue. Plus he felt transferring into a seat especially at the top of the stairs would be too risky for him. Steve continued to search for a more suitable solution which led him to Stiltz Homelifts.
Help with Funding
Steve continued to research possible funding solutions and contacted the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind who gave him information about DFGs. A DFG is mandatory funding from local authorities which can pay for essential housing adaptations, such as a homelift. These help disabled people remain safely in their home and live independently for longer without the need for residential or domiciliary care.
Steve discussed a DFG with his Occupational Therapist:
“I explained to her that I’d like to apply for a DFG to fund a homelift however I was told this might not be possible. A stairlift could be funded, yet I didn’t want one, especially as I felt my staircase and my conditions were not suitable. I was a little confused by this advice, however after pushing my case I was instructed to obtain three stairlift and three homelift quotes so the council could make a decision. They took into consideration my Occupational Therapist’s report and I had a very detailed form to complete however to be fair, they were pretty quick in the end and I received grant approval within two months.”
Homelift to make life easier
In February 2020, a Homelift Sales Surveyor visited Steve to complete an initial assessment of his needs. The most appropriate homelift and its location within his home were discussed in detail, whilst focusing on daily living requirements and maintaining his existing lifestyle. A wheelchair accessible Trio+ Homelift was recommended by Steve’s Occupational Therapist so that his independence was future-proofed. If he needed a wheelchair in years to come, he could still use the homelift and remain safe and independent at home. Stiltz managed the whole process – from submission of building regulations and pre-installation work, to homelift installation and commissioning. The project was completed within four days and with no hassle.
Steve’s newfound independence at home is vital as Steve explains:
“My homelift means I can live on my own safely with my retired guide dog Evie. I still receive visits from my community stroke nurse though – she has been impressed with my homelift.
"I believe a homelift is a better solution for stroke survivors than a stairlift. Even if you just look at the simple things in life like taking your washing up and down the stairs, my homelift has made such a difference. I used to have to throw my clothes down the stairs and then try climb over them. There was no way I could carry a washing basket downstairs. I would regularly trip over my washing which was a big worry. Not anymore. I get into my homelift, sit on the chair with my washing basket by my feet and away I go.”
Overall the process of obtaining a homelift with a DFG contribution was positive for Steve. He did have some challenges to overcome in terms of funding nevertheless the outcome was positive in the end,
“Aspects of day-to-day life were becoming a real pain before owning my Stiltz homelift. Now I rarely use the stairs and the worry of falls has vanished. I’m so lucky to live where I live with Evie. I can relax listening to my music and live a normal life getting up and downstairs when I like. It’s magic.”
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