Falkirk Council pledge to review walk-in showers and stairlifts for elderly

A review of how walk-in showers and stair lifts are installed for elderly and disabled people to help them stay in their own homes has been promised for next year.

By Kirsty Paterson, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Monday, 13th December 2021, 5:00 pm
Updated Monday, 13th December 2021, 5:01 pm

Councillor Allyson Black brought her concerns to a recent meeting of Falkirk Council, with a motion asking the Health & Social Care Partnership to review how adaptations are agreed.

She said that the current procedures are inconsistent.

And that can leave some elderly people trapped – unable to live comfortably at home, but unable to move as suitable accommodation is so scarce.

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Councillor Black

Cllr Black praised the health and social work staff who assess people’s needs – but said her concern was more about what happened after that assessment was made.

“We all know its better for people to stay in their own homes for as long as possible,” she told councillors.

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“It’s safer and much better for their physical help and also their mental well-being – but as they get older they do need more help and that can become costly.”

She used the example of a constituent who couldn’t get a stairlift fitted because their house had steps and it was impossible to fit a ramp.

Situations like this can mean people face having to move.

She said: “The council has to make sure it’s future-proof, but can you imagine what a heartache is to someone who’s lived in that property for many years?

“It’s where their memories are, it’s where they feel safe and its very familiar to them.

“Yet, down the street someone else has a very similar home that does have a stairlift, and they also have steps into their house.”

However, a shortage of properties for older people means it is very difficult to move to a new house and that can leave people trapped in unsuitable housing.

Cllr Black said that revising the policy would also take pressure off the waiting list for council houses.

Her motion was seconded by SNP councillor Fiona Collie, who said it would be a positive move forward just to make sure there is consistency.

She did, however, query the time-scale and asked Chief Officer Patricia Cassidy if the time-scale was feasible.

Ms Cassidy said the review had actually already been started, working with the housing team – but she said it would be very difficult to get a report by March, given the pressure that the team is currently under.

She said: “I wouldn’t normally ask for more time to do this piece of work but we are just under so much pressure at the moment that we are focusing a lot of our staff on front-line delivery and we don’t have a great deal of capacity.

“We also want to do significant consultation with people who use the service and need the service.”

She promised to bring an update to the council in March and a full report by the end of May.

Cllr Collie also reminded people that the Livingwell Falkirk advice hub is also available online for anyone who needs advice about things such as handrails and bathing equipment.

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