Boarding a bus, crossing a street, or withdrawing money from an ATM can become a true odyssey for anyone with some types of disability. This problem, which should involve the whole of society, is exacerbated when it starts at home. And it has to do that some houses do not have wide doors and corridors that allow people to move without assistance in wheelchairs. Furthermore, many people cannot even go down or up their house due to the lack of adequate infrastructure to move around. Stair lifts or platforms can be a reliable and easy solution to solve this problem.
What is available in Spain?
The current market offers a wide range of possibilities to provide solutions to the mobility of people with disabilities at home or in public spaces. There are some lifts that are suitable for a short staircase, others at high altitudes, there are compact ones, with limited space, etc. It is about combining the real need well and a budget.
Thus, some of the possibilities available are the following:
Ordinary Stair lifts.
It serves to bridge unevenness covered by stairs. It allows people with disabilities to lift and descend, whether or not they use wheelchairs. Obviously the space for the lift is required within the stairwell. It can hydraulic or with an electric motor which can be incorporated onto the actual cabin, so no space is required for the elevator machine above the lift. The prices vary depending the number of people allowed and speed of the cabin but it starts around 10.000 Euros
Chair stair climber.
It can be installed on straight and curved stairs. These types of models are manufactured with a technology applied to the lifting system that ensures that the start and stop of the transfer is smooth and relaxed. Different models have simple driving controls at your fingertips. They also have armrests that help and give security while the person climbs into the chair. When not in use, the seat and footrest fold down without obstructing free movement on the ladder. This device may be suitable for a person using walking sticks. Not suitable for people in wheelchairs. Its installation costs around 6,000 Euros.
In certain public or private buildings, which usually have a difference in height of between 0.8 and 1.5 meters, it is very practical to install a wheelchair platform. It is an open lifting platform, with railings. This type of device, is also often used in owners’ communities where there is already a lift, but also four or five steps to reach it. Its price is usually around 8,000 euros and the agreement from the owner’s community is required to install it.
Other lifts platforms.
Space problems in the home mean that many people with mobility problems cannot enjoy all the rooms in their home, and to solve this problem are vertical lifting platforms. Their main advantage lies in their compact design, which makes them require much less space than other lifts. They do not need a pit or a machine room like the other lifts, which enables simple and low-cost installation.
In addition, the aesthetic design of these lifts makes them easily adaptable to home decoration. They are also often used in public buildings, hotels and restaurants, medical centres, communities of owners and private homes, both for transporting passengers on foot and in wheelchairs. Price starts around 9,000 euros
Regulations and Spanish National Accessibility Plan
The entire society as a whole must be involved in the need to improve the mobility conditions for the disabled (9% of the population), according to the Second Spanish Regulations and National Accessibility Plan 2018-2026. The Plan was developed by IMSERSO, as the entity responsible for promoting equal opportunities and improving the quality of life of the groups most affected by barriers: people with disabilities and the elderly.
The Plan has been developing actions in different directions: awareness-raising and transcendence campaigns on accessibility, training on accessibility in architecture, computer science or professionals in the sector, studies on the situation of accessibility in different areas, and promotion and improving territorial accessibility plans and promotion of cooperation frameworks between different public administrations.
If we look at the field of transport, according to these regulations of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, 624 architectural and urban accessibility projects will be promoted, 1,664 new accessible urban buses, 1,243 intercity buses and 352 accessible taxis will be co-financed, and 115 will be promoted performances at Railways Renfe stations.
Regarding communications, investments will be made to maintain the Deaf Telephone Intermediation Centre, which will reach 1,663,000 actions throughout the next triennium and will support the presence of sign language interpreters in relations with the Administrations. Public, together with the promotion of subtitling and audio description, for which a total of 40,800 performances are planned.