Wheelchair Accessible Recliner

Terry Darling had a diving accident that left him a C 5-6 quadriplegic. Since then, Terry has invented various adaptations to make life easier and more comfortable. One of his best inventions is the Wheelchair Accessible Recliner.

Terry always complained that he could never get comfortable on regular furniture, and in fact, the only comfortable alternative to his wheelchair was to lying in bed, which caused him to fall asleep for two or three hours when he only wanted a short respite from his chair.

Frustrated by this he moved to create his own wheelchair friendly recliner, the rewards of which are very obvious to him.

“Since I started using the Wheelchair Accessible Recliner I have found many therapeutic advantages including pressure relief and stretching exercises that allow me to feel better and be more active”- according to the proud inventor.  

The front bottom bar is easily backed over and works as a wheel chock to keep the chair stable when you are in the reclined position. It is equally easy to get out of the recliner; by just pulling forward on the armrest and the wheelchair pops out, making it easy to go get a snack and return to comfort.

Nowadays there are two versions of the Wheelchair Accessible Recliner:

  • The Fully Upholstered Wheelchair Recliner: equipped with an electric motor and remote control to easily adjust the reclined position

  • The Open Frame Wheelchair Recliner: with a durable powder-coated finish and can be equipped with either a manual adjustment or electric motor. Both recline to 45 degrees.


Rhyme: Musical furniture for disabled kids

It is proven that music is therapeutic for numerous disabilities, especially when applied to children. Cue a Norwegian project that has invented “musical furniture”.

The project, known as Rhyme, started in 2011 with the goal of improving the health and quality of life for persons with severe disabilities using “co-creative tangibles” or, in other words, different shaped pieces of furniture that enable children to do activities such as singing, dancing, exploring their immediate surroundings and climbing. Many of the items are also equipped with microphones so that children can use their own voice to make music.

According to Jo Herstad, project leader, the idea was to show how this kind of media can be harnessed to reduce a child’s passivity and isolation to improve the health of the child and also have a positive rebound effect on their families.

The University of Oslo has contributed to the development of this project, as it vice-president, Inga Boastad, has a 16 years old daughter, Unn, who is severely disabled.

Boastad explains that Unn is very impatient, but the musical furniture provided feedback for almost all her senses, so she doesn’t get bored so easily.

The furniture has now been tested by children with functional disorders as an extension of traditional music therapy and Boastad has been able to witness the improvement of her own daughter. She now hopes than musical furniture will be produced more widely so that many people can take benefit from it.


Remodelling your home

Not all furniture and adaptations need to be homemade or state of the art. Sometimes accessibility is a matter of just tweaking the world around you. Case Group vision when they created a section on their website to help people renovate their houses with “First Floor Bedroom” (or ground floor if you’re from the UK).

They show you how to make simple changes to modify things like the closet, the doorway, the light switches, etc, to make them all wheelchair friendly.

Their philosophy is based on the concept of universal design which should enable you to make adjustments to your home for increased accessibility or if you just want to live out your old age in the home that you have always lived in.

Closets can be configured for easy access with pocket doors, low-reach bars, shelves and cubbies.

Light switches can be made more accessible from a sitting position and you also can install touch switches or rocker switches that require fewer hand motions.

These are just some examples, but you can find more ideas clicking here.


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