Most of you reading this will be fortunate enough not to have to consider how accessible your indoor and outdoor furniture is but hopefully this will give you an insight into the importance of choosing accessible furniture that not only looks good but also meets a whole range of disability needs including wheelchair users and those with mobility problems that might have problems rising.
What Is an Accessible Table
This may sounds like a crazy question and you are probably thinking well, tables are either round, oblong, square etc! and you would of course be correct but like all accessible issues we need to just look that little bit deeper and in this case underneath.
The most important accessibility issue relating to any indoor or outdoor table is the design of the legs, if you have a table with one large central leg it will often prevent wheelchair users from getting close to the table due to the leg not allowing the wheelchair footplate’s to go deeper under the table and therefore stopping the user from getting close enough to comfortably eat, drink or even use a table for writing etc.
An ideal and accessible table will have one leg at each corner and offer clear unobstructed access.
While thinking of accessibility you should also think about the style and design of your dining and garden chairs. Chairs with arms are a great aid to anybody that has problems rising as well as helping to gently sit down. A great aid for the elderly and not just people with a disability. Mixing a few chairs with arms and some without greatly helps people with mobility problems and is well worth giving a thought to next time you choose your garden, dining or household furniture.
You may not have a disabled person or wheelchair user in your family but you most probably will have an elderly relative. Remember, many people use a wheelchair temporarily, broken leg etc so why not get accessible tables and chairs and be done with it.
Of course having accessible furniture is only beneficial if the property or garden it is placed in is accessible itself. Thankfully many of the larger restaurant and pub chains have by now addressed their disabled access issues but we are still lagging behind when it comes to accessible property and housing, especially on the rental side.
Just like furniture, housing is either accessible or not but a great deal more problematic to resolve especially for wheelchair users looking to rent or buy a house or other property.
I recently came across a dedicated London based company called Branch Properties that specialises in matching disabled and wheelchair buyers and tenants with an accessible property as well as working to encourage owners and landlords of accessible or adapted properties to make the most of their improvements. Very few letting or estate agents are even aware of the need for disabled friendly housing, let alone catering for would be disabled tenants.
However Branch Properties have taken this onboard and offer advice to landlords as well as helping disabled tenants not only find accessible housing but also by offering assistance with packing, moving and everything that goes with it. Check them out by clicking the Branch Properties link or by calling them on 020 3475 4022.