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Saturday, 5 March 2011

GUESTS WITH LIMITED MOBILITY

In Daisy Cottage, we are aware that there are many people with varying degrees of mobility problems and since the beginning of our rental business of the house we have tried to accommodate guests with limited mobility.


The ramped entrance at the back of Daisy Cottage
The front entrance to the house is not a problem as it is at ground level and a very short distance of a couple of feet from a parked car to the door.  At the back, prior to our renovations, there were steps down to the yard where cars can also be parked and which door gives access to the covered patio area and the garden beyond.  One of the first things we did was to gently ramp this area so that access there is easy and we made the ramp wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair.

All the light switches in the house are at 'wheelchair' height too.

The downstairs double bedroom of Daisy Cottage
It was important too to have a downstairs bedroom.  We had toyed with the idea of putting in a chair lift for access to upstairs bedrooms but this proved to be difficult given the landing area at the top of the stairs and then a further couple of steps to the upstairs landing.  Buying the chair lift wouldn't have been a problem as we already owned one.  When we first opened our office in Letterkenny in 1990 we had an upstairs unit and so a chair lift was one of the first things we purchased, together with ramping the one step outside the building, cognisant of the fact that so many people (my own father at the time) find stairs an issue.  We were actually given an award for adding this chair lift.  After moving offices to a building with a lift (elevator) we no longer needed the chair lift and so could have used it in Daisy Cottage but for the problem of the half landing.

So, that aside, we converted two rooms downstairs in Daisy Cottage, one into a bedroom and one into an en suite.  The bedroom has access into the double bed from either side and the doorway into both the bedroom and the en suite is wide enough to accommodate wheelchair access.

In fact, last year we had a guest who used a wheelchair and she and her family had particularly chosen Daisy Cottage as it seemed to have what they needed in terms of access and moving about the house for the lady in the wheelchair.  They reported back to me after they left that moving around in the wheelchair had not been a problem and went through the doors easily.

The only two points they wanted to point out was one, the tiles in the en suite of the downstairs bedroom felt a little slippy even though the shop we had bought them from assured us they were for use in showers.  We quickly replaced the tiles in the shower area with super grip tiny mosaic tiles (see below).  And their second point was that the width between the bed and wall was a bit tight for a wheelchair but was solved by their taking out one of the bedside tables.  So now for future guests who are wheelchair bound we know to remove one of the bedside tables prior to their arrival.  Feedback like this is invaluable to us.

So, back to the en suite.

In the en suite there is a 'grab' rail at the side of the lavatory.  The lavatory itself is slightly higher than the standard lavatory and suitable for wheelchair users.

This can be clicked down into a horizontal position when needed and can be clicked back up against the wall, as shown in the photograph here, for those who don't need this aid.

In the shower area we had intended to add one of those pull down seats but they don't look terribly comfortable to we tried to find some alternative and just this year we found a great chair for use in the shower. 

It is very sturdy, hygienic and perfect for use in the shower for people who need it.  It even has little pockets on the side to hold shower gel, shampoo, etc.  It also has, as you can see from the photograph here, arms on the side which is important for safety.

In the shower area of the en suite we have tiled the floor with little mosaic tiles which give much better grip, and therefore security, than larger tiles would, even the "non-slip" versions which we had prior to feedback from a guest who pointed this out (see above). 

The en suite and is in fact a "wet room" which means there is no restrictions of shower doors or raised areas to get into the shower and is spacious enough to move around easily.

We certainly hope we have done as much as possible to make Daisy Cottage a good holiday home for guests with some of their party with limited mobility and we will continue to make sure we do our utmost to do so.

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