Two years ago, retired policeman Brian Kendall had to have his leg amputated after it went septic following an operation below the knee. Along with the obvious emotional and physical distress it caused the then 73-year-old, it meant that he and his wife, Mary, had to make some major changes to their home.
Confined to a wheelchair, Brian could not use the upstairs of their house for the first year so the couple from Exeter had to put a bed in the living room and turn the space into a bedroom. After another 12 months, he was able, with the help of Mary, to manage the stairs sitting down, one step at a time.
However the couple knew that this could not last so faced the dark reality that they would have to sell the three-bedroom semi-detached property that they had shared together for 35 years and brought their kids up in and move to a bungalow. The prospect of this left Brian and Mary deeply distraught because, like many people, they loved their house and had created so many beautiful memories.
The couple had looked into buying a stairlift but discovered that, because of their turning staircase, it would have to be fitted in three sections and Mary was not keen on having a ‘chair sticking out of the wall on the stairs’.
Thankfully after watching an episode of BBC One’s DIY SOS, where Nick Knowles and the team transformed a property with the installation of a home lift, the Kendall’s did some internet research and contacted Stiltz Lifts.
The lift company posted the couple a cardboard footprint representing the exact dimensions of the lift so the couple could get a feel for the space required for the lift. Brian and Mary decided that the dining room was the best position for the lift and had it go straight up into the main bedroom.
With this particular home lift, no major building work was required as it did not need a lift shaft or vacuum system. The lift travelled on a unique dual rail system which is a totally self-supporting structure. This meant that no load bearing walls or major structural alterations needed to be made to the home.
This type of domestic lift was also not powered by noisy hydraulics and instead ran off an electric motor that is quiet and housed out of sight at the top of the lift. It plugs straight into the wall using a normal 13-amp power socket.
It took only one day for the lift to be installed with a simple opening incorporated into the Kendall’s dining room ceiling to allow the lift to travel up to the main bedroom and meant Brian could start enjoying the lift straight away.
“It’s the most wonderful thing we’ve ever spent our money on,” said Mary, 75. “We were desperate. Brian had been sleeping in the lounge for two years and something had to be done.
“We thought the only solution was moving house and buying a bungalow which would have been heart breaking. We’ve lived here for 35 years, watched our children grow up and leave home, and it would have been awful saying goodbye to our home. Thankfully having a home lift put in has changed all that and made it possible for us to stay where we are.
“Compared to moving home it was also much more affordable and I really like the neatness of our home lift. It’s compact, not obtrusive and when the grandchildren come and play, they love it! It’s also given Brian his life back. He can now go upstairs, have a shower and get around the house without too much help. I’d recommend a home lift to anyone.”
Brian added: “It’s the best thing since slice bread. Once I’ve got myself in the lift, I push a button and it takes me straight up to the bedroom, off I go! I must say since we’ve had the lift installed, it’s cheered me up enormously. To have that extra freedom and movement is unbelievable. I absolutely love it!”