According to the latest UK census, our population is 56 million people of whom 16.4% are over 65 and 30% over 60. Government figures also quote the figure of 6 million people registered as disabled
, of which around 143,000 are considered permanent wheelchair users. This clearly shows there is a large potential market for products which can improve accessibility and which can be more comfortable or easy to use.
Contrary to public perception, products designed for disabled use are a much smaller demand than products which enable people to continue to live a better life in their own homes. However this is a difficult market to pin down because there are so many different needs. The 6 million registered disabled range from less debilitating conditions such as Diabetes (not to down play this illness) to total immobility – and there are many more people who may be simply elderly or suffer impaired movement who are not recorded but could still benefit greatly from products designed to be of assistance.
In the bathroom sector, DocM installations are a standard for public disabled facilities and Lantac approval covers the needs of the 2010 Accessibility Act. In the private sector, the drive towards living at home (or Independent Living) fuelled greatly by the huge cost of care homes and the potential loss of the family home to fund this, has resulted in the introduction of comfort ranges with higher height WC pans, easy grip (or lever action) taps and mixers, taller washbasin pedestals to relieve the need for undue stooping. And many other products such as shower valves can be positioned at any height suited to the needs of the user but with built-in adjustment for other users.
Whilst those affected by mobility issues have quickly appreciated the benefits which comfort products bring, the general public is also becoming much more aware of planning for the future and making their bathroom upgrades ‘future proof’ by incorporating products which meet this requirement but, importantly, without appearing ‘institutional’ in appearance, and before the need has actually arisen.
“With age projection statistics showing the UK population will continue to be older in its makeup, the need for comfort product is certain to increase” says Impulse Bathrooms National Sales Manager, Geoff Croft.
Impulse Bathrooms recognised this potential demand some years ago and introduced their Comfort range at the KBB Show in 2010.
“Since then demand has really grown” adds Geoff “And we are negotiating a number of exclusive contracts with specialist suppliers to this sector. Inclusive design is a major growth area and one which more and more of our retailers are choosing to display in their showrooms.”
The Impulse Bathrooms range includes elevated WC and washbasins with a WC height of around 485mm compared to a current standard height of around 425mm, with the extra 60mm of height providing a more comfortable seat position. Washbasin pedestals have an extra 65mm height dimension to overcome the aches which can be caused by having to bend lower. And there’s no sacrifice to style as all Impulse Bathrooms’ Comfort products are designed to grace any bathroom.
And for those who would like to combine comfort and environmental issues, the Valero comfort height WC is also available as a water saving 4.5/3litre dual flush with a seat height of 500mm or as a unique close coupled back-to-wall version offering modern styling with concealed pipework and improving hygiene.