David and his wife live in a two-storey house in Sydney’s eastern suburbs with views of the ocean from the second floor. Unfortunately it’s hard for David to get up to the second storey because he has polymyositis and has little strength in his arms and particularly his legs.
He can make it nearly to the top of the stairs by supporting himself on the staircase’s sturdy wooden banisters and pulling himself upwards step by step, but the last step presented a problem because there were no banisters ahead of him to pull himself up with.
David’s therapist referred him to TAD and volunteer Reg Gardner came to the rescue. Reg made two 450mm extensions out of sturdy pine, which he mounted on a vertical pivot post on a steel bracket bolted to the banister post at the top of the stairs.
When open, the extensions latch into place with a stop button generally used as a yacht fitting, which all who know ex-boat builder Reg will understand he “found in the workshop”. This mechanism needed to be very secure as David is quite heavy and exerts a lot of pressure on it.
Lifting the latch enables the extensions to be folded back 180° so they sit flush against the banister when not in use. Reg also stained the extensions so they match the banisters and look just like another part of the house.
David is full of praise for Reg and TAD’s service. “We are most impressed with the field staff and the office staff,” he said. “Nothing is too much trouble, and everyone has been very courteous and helpful.”
David and his wife had another idea for a lightweight portable chair that would enable them to go out without having to take David’s scooter and use the four-wheel drive to transport it. It is proving difficult to design something that will hold David’s weight and simultaneously be collapsible, but the finest minds that TAD can offer are on the case!