Which Mobility Aid Do I Need?

An elderly lady holding on to a man and woman for support.

It’s time to talk about how to choose the right mobility aid for you. When it comes to mobility equipment in Essex, there are many options and most aids can be modified to suit your needs. Here’s a few pointers to help you decide which mobility aid is the best for you.

 

Walking aids

1st Step Mobility offer an abundance of walking aids, such as walking frames and shopping rollators. These kind of mobility aids are usually used if you need a little bit of extra support and stability whilst walking – something to ease the strain on muscles and joints. Walking aids are a great choice if you’re looking to stay active!

 

Wheelchairs and mobility scooters

For those who aren’t able to walk long distances, there’s also wheeled alternatives – otherwise known as wheelchairs! A manual wheelchair allows you to be mobile and active by moving your arms to push the wheelchair forwards.

There’s also a power wheelchair, which is an electric chair powered by you. Nowadays, there are so many ways power chairs can be adapted to suit people’s needs – some people can even drive a wheelchair powered through your voice or eyes!

If you don’t think you can use a manual chair, but don’t think you need a power wheelchair, we also offer mobility scooters as another alternative.

 

Personal care aids

When it comes to personal care equipment, there’s more choice than ever! If it’s getting in and out of the bath that you struggle with, then investing in a slatted bath board might be beneficial to you. Or if it’s access to the car that you need some help with, a revolving car seat or handybar will make getting in and out of the car easy and comfortable!

Are you searching for mobility equipment in Essex? Do you need some help deciding which mobility aid would be best for you? If you’re looking for mobility to aids to help make your life easier, then why not pay us a visit to one of our showrooms in London, Kent, Hertfordshire and Essex. Visit our online store or contact us if you want to speak to our friendly team.

Alber Viaplus Power Assist

Are you after a power pack to help propel you REA wheelchair then this Alber Viaplus is the answer. This powerful power pack can be easily fitted onto your REA Clematic or Rea Azalea and will help in assisting in pushing the wheelchair, the speed and direction can easily be controlled via the handles mounted onto the push handle of the the wheelchair.

For more information or to how one works then please give us a call on 01708 746644.

 

How To Deal With An Invisible Disability

A woman laying in bed with a hot water bottle and a blanket.

As a trusted mobility shop in Hackney, 1st Step Mobility understand that there are many reasons that someone might be in need of our equipment, and sometimes these reasons aren’t always visible. We often meet people with illnesses such as Lupus and Fibromyalgia who are often in need of mobility equipment to help with their day-to-day transportation. Mobility equipment helps with daily life, but here are some extra tips on how to deal with an invisible disability.

 

Supportive friends and family

Friends and family who are there to support, encourage and listen to you can play a big part in helping people to cope with an invisible illness. You might ask family members to help you with tasks around the home to help you conserve your energy, whilst a friend can support you by simply coming round for a chat or a being a shoulder to cry on.

Illness can often help us to easily prioritise our friendships so we can spend our energy on those who matter. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends or family for support, after all that’s what they’re there for!

 

Encourage others going through something similar

Who better to offer advice than someone who has gone through exactly the same thing? You personally know how difficult it can be some days to live with an invisible disability, so why not take some time to help someone vulnerable going through a similar situation.

Whether you meet someone through an online group, a local support group, or a friend of the family, volunteering some of your time and expertise (you are an expert on living with an invisible disability after all!) will make a big difference to both of your lives.

 

Know your limits

When it comes to invisible disabilities, the expectations of work, the world, and even yourself can become frustrating when you’re unable to do as much as you’d like. It is not uncommon for people to be confused when your hidden illness means you need to cancel or change plans at the last second.

It’s important to know your limits and set boundaries to conserve your energy. There’s no need to conform to the pressure and expectations of others.

 

Are you suffering from an invisible disability? If you’re looking for mobility equipment in London, Kent, Hertfordshire or Essex then why not pay a visit to our mobility shop in Hackney. Visit our store, browse our products online, or contact us for information today.

 

Securing Your Mobility Scooter

It’s unfortunate that even criminals would stoop so low as to steal a vital piece of equipment, but mobility scooters in London do get stolen, with a number of cases populating the news as of late, featuring both the theft of the full vehicle, as well as expensive components being ripped out, such as the battery. As the news stories show, the most determined of thieves cannot always be stopped, but there are definitely precautions you can take to reduce the likelihood of opportunistic thefts occurring.

 

Secure Your Scooter

When at home, you’ll ideally want to keep your mobility scooter inside your home, or inside a secure garage, but this isn’t always on option for everyone. In the case that you have to leave your scooter outside, ensure that it is properly secured with some kind of padlock – chains, D-locks, immobilisers and wheel clamps can all work, though which is most practical to use will differ from person to person.

 

Stay Alert

Some people may forget to remove their ignition keys or lock up their scooter when out and about on their scooter if they plan on “quickly popping into a shop”. This is all well and good, but that short time is sometimes all a thief needs! It may be hard to imagine someone walking (or riding!) or with your scooter in broad daylight, but these things do happen – stay vigilant! If you routinely make the same journey, you may want to alter your route, or park in different areas, as those with an easily recognisable routine can quickly become targets!

 

Mark Your Scooter

It is possible to purchase scooter alarms to use as a deterrent, and scooter trackers that can actually track the location your cotter gets taken to if it’s stolen. It is also possible to get your mobility scooter “tagged” in a similar manner to push bikes, which makes it easier for police to return your scooter to if it’s recovered in the event of it being stolen.
 

1st Step Mobility supply a wide range of mobility scooters in London, Kent, and Essex. Feel free to visit our showrooms directly, or browse our selection online – you can also contact us with any questions by phone or by emailing us at info@1ststepmobility.com.

How Much Do You Know About Lupus?

An elderly person holding onto a walking frame.

As a supplier of quality mobility equipment in Essex, the team at 1st Step Mobility know that there can be any number of reasons that someone might be in need of our equipment, and sometimes these reasons may not always be obvious at first (or even second) glance. With May marking Lupus Awareness Month in the US (and #WorldLupusDay scheduled for 10th May), now seemed a good a time as any to shine a light on what can be an invisible ailment that can adversely affect mobility.

 

Lupus manifests as a myriad of symptoms which are often attributed to other causes and ailments, which can lead to an average delay in proper diagnosis of Lupus of 6 years! Lupus affects the immune system, meaning many areas of the body can become inflamed due to an excess of antibodies being released unnecessarily. Symptoms include facial rashes, sensitivity to sunlight, joint pain, fatigue, hair loss, and more. These symptoms have to be managed by the patient as there is no known cure. It is not an infectious disease, and is instead thought to be triggered by certain events like viral infections and drastic hormone changes, such as during puberty, childbirth, and menopause. As such, women are more likely to suffer from Lupus than men.

 

Lupus can weigh quite heavily on a sufferer’s quality of life, and can be life threatening if vital organs are affected, which can be difficult to predict. People with Lupus can manage the disease by eating a healthy diet, taking medication, monitoring their sunlight exposure, finding the right balance between exercise and rest, and not smoking. Joining support groups or using home nursing equipment or appropriate mobility aids can also help various individuals with Lupus, especially if they suffer heavily with joint pain and fatigue.

 

You can find out more about the disease as well as what you can do to help raise awareness by visiting the Lupus UK website.

 

1st Step Mobility are a supplier of reliable nursing and mobility equipment in Essex (01708 746 644), London (0208 551 7260), and Kent (01322 339 992). Call us today or send us an email at info@1ststepmobility.com with any questions you may have about our products or services.

Preventing Pressure Sores For Wheelchair Users

A person pushing another person in a wheelchair by the beach

As a company that’s provided many wheelchairs in London over the years to people with mobility issues, the team at 1st Step Mobility are aware of a number of hardships faced by wheelchair-users, social, societal, and physical alike. Something that doesn’t always get the attention it should do is the risk of pressure sores, which can become massively debilitating to those who develop them.

 

Pressure sores (also known as pressure ulcers) can develop on the body when a person spends too much time sitting or lying in one position, meaning those with mobility issues are particularly at risk from them, including people who use wheelchairs. These wounds can quickly worsen and become infected and cause a lot of distress as well as cost to the NHS each year. Prevention is always better than cure, especially in the case of pressure sores, so just how can wheelchair users go about preventing them?

 

Pressure sores are caused by damage to an area of tissue from a loss of blood supply or damaging friction, so this is the first thing to be addressed. Pressure needs to be reduced, especially in more areas that are more susceptible to it, such as the hips, tailbone, shoulder blades, and heels. Ensure your wheelchair  is comfortable and properly fitting, with padded support cushions that relieves high pressure areas such as the ones mentioned above, and any other areas that might be a problem for you.

 

It’s important to keep cool and ventilated, as damp skin is more susceptible to damage than dry skin, and heat can contribute to pressure sores too. Keeping your skin dry and preventing it from overheating  can lower your risk of developing pressure ulcers. Ensure your clothing and accessories are made of breathable materials that do not trap moisture.

 

You may not think it important, but watching what you eat can help prevent pressure sores, too. Protein and certain vitamins helps the body repair damage more quickly, and hydrated skin is more elastic and resistant to pressure sores, so be sure to drink enough.

 

Change positions regularly, whether sitting or lying down. Do so in a way that reduces friction and pressure in key areas, such as lifting your weight off your seat, rather than just wriggling around. Take care during transfer period, and avoid dragging your body where possible, as this can cause friction damage.  

 

Finally, make sure to inspect your skin every day. Pay close attention to bony areas and watch out for discolouration and callouses, as these can signal the start of a pressure sore.

 

If you’re looking for comfortable wheelchairs in London, 1st Step Mobility have a wide range of manual and powered chairs for you to choose from! Visit us in store today, or contact us for more information by calling 01708 746644 or emailing info@1ststepmobility.com.

 

Curved Stannah Stairlift – Wooden stairs

1st Step Mobility have just installed this outside curved stairlift on a wooden staircase. The lifts has got matching upholstery to go with the stairs ensure that it matches in and does not stand out. If you are interested in getting a stairlift installed then contact you local 1st Step Mobility shop for more detail.

Can Mobility Equipment Help Keep Loneliness in Check?

A man in a wheelchair walking next to a young girl

As a provider of quality mobility equipment in London, the team at 1st Step Mobility have seen first hand just how our equipment helps change the lives of our customers. But is it possible that our mobility equipment can help not just with movement, but loneliness too?

Research has indicated that 50% of adults in Britain are lonely, and that two thirds of these people turn to the television or radio as a stand-in for company so that they feel less alone. A further 27% rely on their pets for company, 17% will go to the shops for a chance to speak with someone, 7% speak to digital assistants like Alexa or Siri, and 6% have even ordered packages as an excuse to speak to their postman.

On top of the emotional and mental toll loneliness can have, there seem to also be connections to poor physical health, thought to be as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes per day and can even increase your risk of death by 29%.

With 1.2 million chronically lonely people in Britain over the age of 50, this is certainly concerning to acknowledge! However, all is not lost – nationwide schemes like the campaign to end loneliness are in place, and there are many community-centric clubs and activities that can be found in your local area (try the library first!).

Proper accessibility and access to proper mobility equipment can also ensure that those with limited mobility can actually get out and about, rather than stay cooped up lonely and indoors. Having the freedom to choose to visit town, family, friends, or elsewhere really puts control back in the hands of people who need it, and allows them to choose when, where, and who they socialise with.

If you’re ready to take back control and are searching for mobility equipment in London that you can trust, look no further than 1st Step Mobility. Our team are always happy to help you find the equipment that will help your daily life the most, and will happily demonstrate products to you either in store or during a prearranged home visit, which you can contact us to set up.

Mitigating the Hidden Costs of Disability

A close up a mans shoes and jeans as he sits in a wheelchair

As a trusted supplier of wheelchairs in London, the team at 1st Step Mobility have seen first hand the struggles of many of our customers, and are always glad to offset this in any way that we can, whether that be finding equipment to make their lives easier, providing VAT relief for certain purchases, giving advice, or doing home visits. We also like to stay informed of the latest news and developments, including relevant research such as the following.

 

Research undertaken by the charity Scope has revealed that disabled people can expect to face extra costs of £583 on average per month, and that most find these costs to be almost equal to half their income, even before accommodation costs are accounted for.

 

Many people with disabilities struggle to find this kind of money, especially those who are unable to work – even those who do face issues including longer commute times and inaccessible public transport.

 

Some may face even greater costs, with 20% (1 in 5) of disabled people having to find an extra £1000 per month. Added to the findings that money simply does not go as far for disabled people (on average, £100 for a non-disabled person is equivalent to just £68 for a disabled person), this research paints a very grim picture for the finances of disabled people indeed.

 

So, what can be done to mitigate these costs? It’s crucial for any disabled person to find out what they’re entitled to and ensure that they claim their allowance properly. Some areas to look into include the following:

 

  • The Motability Scheme. This scheme allows disabled people to exchange certain allowances (such as ERMC PIP) for a mobility scooter, powered wheelchair, or Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) of their choice, with the chance to exchange every three years.  Maintenance, insurance, and breakdown assistance are all included at no extra cost.

 

  • Disabled Persons Bus Pass. This may also be referred to as a Disabled persons Freedom Pass in London. It allows free travel across London and free bus travel nationwide. However, bear in mind that some boroughs have changed their policies to restrict usage of these passes during peak times (before 9.30am and after 11.30pm)

 

  • VAT exemption. Disabled people will not be charged VAT for certain products and services designed to facilitate them such as wheelchairs, stairlifts, home nursing equipment, and accessible building adaptations.

Contact 1st Step mobility today on 01708 746644 or info@1ststepmobility.com for more information about VAT exemption on wheelchairs in London, the Motability Scheme, and more – we’re always happy to help.

Choosing a Manual Wheelchair

As trusted wheelchair suppliers to our customers in London, Essex, and Kent, the team at 1st Step Mobility know how daunting it can be deciding on your very first wheelchair. It’s an important decision, but one that can feel overwhelming at times. But there’s no need to panic! Just think through your needs and the answer will soon become clear.

 

Self propelled

Self propelled wheelchairs have large rear wheels fitted with a rim that can be pushed, allowing the person sitting it to propel themselves forward (hence the name). Some adjust to this very quickly, finding the movements required instinctive, but others may have more difficulty learning how to properly manoeuvre their chair, and may need to practice for a while in a safe environment before venturing outside.

Most self propelled chairs have handles so those who are unable to push themselves for great distances may still choose this option to be able to independently change which direction they’re facing during social settings.

Large rear wheels and push rims means that these chairs are generally wider than transit counterparts, which may need to be taken into account when making your choice.

 

Attendant Propelled (Transit)

Those with more limited independence may find that an attendant-propelled wheelchair is the best choice for them. Self propelled wheelchairs require a certain amount of flexibility and strength, so people lacking this, or with other issues like hand and joint problems may find transit wheelchairs a better option.

Transit wheelchairs have smaller rear wheels, which makes the chair easier for attendants to manoeuvre than self-propelled chairs.

 

Power Pack

Power packs are the ultimate tool of versatility that can be attached to manual wheelchairs to give them extra propulsion – this takes the strain out of pushing, allowing for longer distances to be travelled. They’re a great accessory that can benefit both types of wheelchair (both self propelled and transit) and reduces the effort for whoever’s propelling it.

Heavier wheelchairs are more sturdy and provide a less bumpy ride, but are harder work for the person propelling them. One answer to this is to choose a lighter wheelchair, but another is to attach a power pack to the chair in question.

 

If you’re still unsure about what kind of manual wheelchair would suit you best, contact the friendly team at 1st Step Mobility today – we have years of experience as wheelchair suppliers, and can provide you with plenty of guidance and support as you choose. Contact us today to find out more or visit one of our showrooms in person for a closer look.