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‘Trapped’ upstairs: Betty Goodwin finally ventures out of her Rugby home after 2.5 years

A 95-year-old woman stepped out of her flat for the first time in two-and-a-half years after being ‘trapped’ in her upstairs home.

Twenty five years ago, James Goodwin extended his home in Rugby, Warwickshire, by building a self-contained annex above his garage for his mother, Betty. The compact home included a bedroom, living room, wet room and galley kitchen.

James built a staircase inside the garage which provided access to the flat via its own front door. This meant Betty had her own independent living space, which was exactly what she wanted. As a safety measure, James also had a door built upstairs which connected with the flat so he could gain access to his Mum’s flat quickly if required.

But by late summer of 2014, it was becoming clear that Betty – who was experiencing trouble with her legs – could no longer use the stairs. James explored all the mobility solutions he could think of, including the possibility of installing a stairlift, but none of them were suitable.

Betty was very comfortable in her flat and was not particularly concerned about not going out. She enjoyed her time surrounded by her Kindle, books and games and relaxed by watching television.

Reality hit home though when one year James and his family were invited to spend Christmas Day at his son’s house. He really wanted Betty to come to spend quality family time together, but Betty insisted she remain at home and stated she would be fine in the flat with a seasonal ready meal.

This made James realise just how isolated his 95-year-old Mother had become, and prompted him to renew his search for a way to enable her to become more integrated into the family once again. “What if she fell ill” James explained, “How would we get her out of the flat?”

After several more false starts with stairlift companies, James came across the Stiltz Home Lift. A Stiltz lift is designed specifically for domestic use and because of its highly flexible, modular sections as well as a remarkably small footprint, it can be installed almost anywhere in the home – unlike competitors’ lifts.

On behalf of his mother, James was able to secure a Disabled Facilities Grant from Rugby Borough Council to help with the costs of a Stiltz Duo Home Lift purchase and installation.

James said: “I hadn’t heard of home lifts but when I read about them I thought they’d be perfect for Mum. I contacted the Council, they came to the house, looked at Mum’s situation and said we would be eligible for a grant. We were delighted.”

Because a Stiltz lift is freestanding and does not use hydraulics or have a need for supporting walls, installation was quick, simple and cost effective. The entire process took a couple of days.

James added: “We had the lift installed very quickly. The staircase in the garage was removed and the lift slotted into its place. It couldn’t have been easier.

“The first time she went in the lift, Mum found it very daunting because she hadn’t been outside for two-and-a-half years. However once she was able to feel the fresh air on her face she quickly overcame her concerns and now absolutely loves her lift.

“She hadn’t been out anywhere or Mother’s Day for the past few years but this year my brother came over and we took her out and we’re all going out for Easter too. We’re so happy as it’s given her a whole new lease of life.”

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We’re so happy – the Stiltz Home Lift has given my mother a whole new lease of life

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